The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice F. Ransom is an amusing story of a little girl’s day as she rides the bus with her mom into town to run some errands. Her perspective and unique observations are a refreshing point of view and simply delightful for the reader.
As she goes on her adventure, she fills up her big green pocketbook with all kinds of new keepsakes. Even though this story is about what happens in the day of a mother and daughter, it was just as entertaining for us, a mother and son duo, to read together.
And best of all, it also introduced new ways for us to play!
Exploring the contents of his backpack after we went on our own “Big Green Pocketbook” adventure!
8 The Big Green Pocketbook Activities
1) The Yellow Backpack Town Adventure
On a day that I knew we had lots of errands to run, I asked Rocket if he’d liked to go on an adventure just like the little girl from our book. His answer was an eager yes. I’d expected no less! So I helped him grab his empty yellow backpack and off we went.
He filled it up with different items from all the places that we visited.
Some treasures Rocket collected from our adventure in town included a stone bear (from the grocery store), a bookmark (from the library), a rock (from the university), a toy truck (from the dollar store), and a dog treat (from the pet store- not pictured).
A kind employee from the grocery store also gave him a balloon. After our exhausting morning, he fell asleep on our way back home. His mouth was still full from snacking!
Showing Dad the dog treat we got for Harmony and all the other new things in his backpack.
Showing Songbird his new semi-truck.
2) Coloring A Picture For Someone
At the end of the book, the little girl left her big green pocketbook on the bus and was sad because her whole morning was inside of it. Her sadness was replaced with joy when the bus driver dropped the big green pocketbook off at her house.
To thank him, she colored a picture for him. She also colored another one for her mom.
I asked Rocket if he could think of someone for whom he’d like to color a picture.
The invitation: blank paper and crayons.
He decided he wanted to color a picture for his Aunt Michelle.
3) Playing Store (Dramatic Play)
I’ve loved reading this book because it introduced a new type of play: playing store.
To play the “Dramatic Play” way, Rocket held on to a cup of change and a backpack and he walked around the house to the different “stores”.
An example of a store was Dad standing in a corner with all our stuffed animals, hollering, “Dad’s Animals is open for business!” When he approached, Dad told him the cost of each toy. And when he decided which one he wanted, he paid for it and put it in his backpack. Through this play, he practiced coin recognition and counting.
Then he moved on to the bathroom where I was standing and selling rubber duckies. The possibilities for this type of play are endless.
Dad & I ping-ponged around the house like this until Rocket’s backpack was nice and full!
After playing store, he sat down to check out his goods.
So much stuff in there!
Showing me the Love, Uganda bracelet he “bought” for a quarter.
4) Playing Store (Small World Play)
In addition to running around the house with dramatic play time, we also turned “playing store” into small world play, which was all confined to one room.
The invitation was set up in the schoolroom as follows:
In the middle of the schoolroom there was the farmer, his cup of coins, and a backpack. Around the room, there were different “stores” set up for him to go and make his purchases.
Baa Baa’s Car Lot.
Neigh-Neigh’s Ball Store.
Ellie’s Hardware Store.
Rocket helped me set up the stores by choosing which animals should be the store owners.
Zebra’s Bracelet Shop.
For playtime, we gave each store owner a unique personality and way of talking.
Rocket decided that the farmer was looking for a tractor at Baa Baa’s Car Lot. There happened to be a Buy 1, Get 1 Free Sale!
The farmer counted his money to pay for each purchase.
The farmer went to the hardware store for materials to build a new house. Here he was talking to Ellie the Elephant about which shapes he needed.
Building a house with the blocks.
He filled up the backpack with all the things the farmer went around town buying. Rocket enjoyed playing store so much that we kept the shops out during the entire week and played almost daily. I love seeing where his mind goes when he uses his imagination!
5) Money Sorting
We used a party platter tray as the base for our activity on identifying and sorting money.
Examining the coins.
He requested that I make shapes using the coins. Okay!
6) Ride On The City Bus
The little girl described the details of the bus with great excitement- from the hot cloud that comes out of it when the door opens to the leather seats creaking. You can just feel the magic of looking at the world through a child’s eyes.
There was one more glaringly obvious thing we should do for our tot school week on The Big Green Pocketbook: ride a bus.
I have to admit, I almost didn’t do it. I kept putting it off until the very last day of the week and even then, I almost bailed out. Because I’m a grouchy adult who views public transportation as a chore, not an adventure, I’ll admit.
But I made myself do it by asking Rocket if he’d like to ride a bus. As soon as he said yes, it was a solid plan. I can’t let a 2 year old down. So off to the nearest bus stop we went, despite my lame grown-up grumbles.
And I’m glad we did. We had so much fun!
I showed Rocket the bus stop sign as we waited.
Across the street was a fire station with a fire truck pulling out to go on a run!
My mom came with us to see us off (and follow behind in the car so we wouldn’t have to make a full loop around the city).
He was super thrilled when he spotted the bus!
“It’s bumpy, Mom!” He was giddy the whole ride. I let him drop in the coins when we boarded and pull the string when our stop arrived. He told his dad all about the ride and kept the bus ticket for days. He had such a blast riding on the bus that we will definitely be doing it again!
7) Reading With A Focus
As we read this book, we discussed:
- How it feels to lose things. How did the little girl feel when she lost her big green pocketbook? I asked Rocket if he remembered how it felt when he lost his blue guitar.
- Thinking. There is a page that shows the little girl sitting on the floor with her legs crossed, just thinking after she lost her pocketbook. We talked about how it sometime helps to just go somewhere quiet and think about things. I know this page stuck out to him because at one point, I found him sitting quietly on the kitchen floor. When I asked what he was doing, he said, “Thinking… like in The Big Green Pocketbook.”
8) Related Reading
To accompany The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice F. Ransom and Felicia Bond, the schoolroom bookshelf was stocked with:
- The Lady With The Alligator Purse by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Another book featuring a purse (and a fun one, at that!)
- Alexander Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday by Silver Burdett. The Big Green Pocketbook had spending money as a theme, so I got this one to touch on that topic more. I’m a fan of Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but I didn’t like this one much. The themes of greed, sibling fighting, and teasing were too prevalent for my taste (at least for a toddler).
- Tractor Day by Candice F. Ransom. Written by the same author.
We talked a lot about money and stores (including when they typically close and open) for this book. But most importantly, as always, we played our hearts out!