3 out of 4 stars
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There are four potatoes who sleep during the day and love to perform at night. Their names are Arnie, Jimmy, Marvin, and Benny. Oh wait. What’s that, Benny? You’re not a potato? You’re a banana? Hopefully, Benny’s voice can be heard in the humorous children’s book, Four Funny Potatoes by Len Foley!
There were so many aspects I enjoyed while reading. For one, the illustrations were a mixture of actual fruit and drawn-in cartoon features, which many children are sure to enjoy. Using a white background along with the pages’ bright colors can very eye-appealing, but at the same time the almost discombobulated structure of the illustrations might be overwhelming for some children. The varying types of food seem to be thrown in and falling all over the pages, which gives a chaotic feeling.
Another aspect that made this book fun was its rhyming phrases. It makes the read more enjoyable and peppy. However, I did notice some inconsistencies with the use of quotation marks. When the food friends were singing, quotation marks were included, but while the food friends were speaking, no quotation marks were used. It is unclear why this is the case, so perhaps looking over the dialogue may be beneficial.
Themes of celebrating yourself and working together as a team were woven into the story. Lines of “I have my own shape, my own thoughts, my own mind. I am proud to be a banana.” (Page 17) and “We all sing best when we’re singing as a team!” (Page 22) were used great in the story. By including these lines, the author has given adults the chance to open discussion about these themes with their children.
On the other hand, the ending is somewhat disturbing. I can easily see some children finding it hilarious while others may be upset. Therefore, I would caution adults to preview the story prior to reading it with their children just in case it would be upsetting.
Even with its inconsistency of quotation marks and its ending, I found Four Funny Potatoes to be humorous and a real treat. Therefore, I give this happy illustrated book a 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it for adults to read with their children between the ages three and six years old, as long as the ending isn’t too unsettling for them.
Four Funny Potatoes!
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