Review by Kristen Bentley
A bit about the author: Kristen is a High school English teacher since 1994. Mother of two and professional writer with a Master’s degree in education. She loves to read, travel, watch baseball, and watch her children play sports, too.
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle From iStoryBooks
Appreciate What You Have
The iStoryBook “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Bottle of Vinegar” tells the story of Petunia, the wish-granting fairy. On one of her Fridays while she is out looking for people to help, she stumbles upon Maura, the old lady who was trapped inside of a vinegar bottle. While Petunia works hard to help Maura live in the home of her dreams, Maura simply complains and wants more. After moving Maura to beautiful home after beautiful home, Petunia can no longer listen to Maura’s complaints. The ironic ending explains why Maura was in a vinegar bottle in the first place.
Learning Lessons for Life
Petunia is a happy fairy who loves to help people. When she first meets Maura, Petunia truly wants to help her by making her life better. But sadly, Maura never shows any appreciation for Petunia’s kindness. Petunia just keeps giving and giving, until she realizes that Maura is taking advantage of her kindness. The relationship between Petunia and Maura offers many life lessons for parents to share with their children.
Analyzing Petunia’s Facial Expressions
This book serves as a valuable teaching tool for young children who are learning about being thankful. Maura never once thanks Petunia and parent can easily point this out to their children. As Maura asks for more and more, but never shows appreciation, children will be able to see Petunia’s facial expression. By the time Maura complains about the huge mansion with servants, Petunia has truly had enough. Parents can show their children how much it hurts Petunia’s feelings when she gives so much to Maura and Maura continues to ask for more.
Discussing the End of the Story
Along with ironic twist at the end, parents and teachers can talk about the moral of the story. Petunia actually shares what she believes to be the lesson: that happiness comes from inside of us, rather what is on the outside. The book includes several other lessons to learn about being polite and saying thank you when you are given something nice. Children can also learn about perspective. Maura complains frequently. She complains about the smells of nature, the sounds of birds, and even the help from the servants in her home. Instead of doing all of that complaining, she should change her perspective and appreciate how good she has it. “The Old Woman who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle” gives children the opportunity to read between the lines and create a life lesson that is truly written on the pages.
Adding Sensory Learning Opportunities
Even the title and Maura’s original home can become a teaching point. Children may not know what vinegar is and how it smells and tastes. Anytime that parents and teachers can add some sensory learning into their lesson plans, their students benefit in many ways. Once students realize how vinegar smells (and possibly tastes), they will be able to recognize the humor in the title. They will also recognize why Petunia calls Maura “sour” and why she returns her to the vinegar bottle at the end of the story. Parents and teachers can also ask children why they think Maura was in the bottle at the beginning of the story.
Developing Knowledge about General Knowledge
Teachers can also teach what the cardinal directions are. Younger children do not usually know about north, south, east, and west. Even though the directions have very little to do with the actual plot structure, they can still be incorporated into fun activities. Along with the cardinal directions, teachers can also discuss different types of homes, days of the week, and the variety of places where people can build houses. There are several topics that children will love to read in https://istorybooks.co.