4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever felt like a banana in a world full of potatoes? Perhaps not exactly, but at one point or another, we've all struggled to fit in. I'm sure it happened to Len Foley who was, in his own words, a "horrible writer" until he found he should've been writing children's books all along!
This is what happened to Ben, a banana that wants to join his friends Arnie, ol' Jimmy and Marvin in their potato night show, except he's not a potato, and he needs his friends to accept his true banana-nature.
There are many things to applaud from Four Funny Potatoes by Len Foley. The illustrations are funny, eye-catching and colorful, which is always helpful to get a kid's attention and, honestly, even as an adult they made me giggle and brought back fond memories of Mr. Potato Head.
The message of self-acceptance that this book brings is fundamental, especially these days. Celebrating who you are and what makes you unique is a value I think all children should develop, not just to boost their self-confidence but to appreciate the uniqueness and diversity in others and build an attitude of tolerance.
The author uses several literary devices like alliteration and rhyme. This doesn't only make the reading much more musical and enjoyable but rhyming has many benefits for kids who are learning: they improve memory, enforce inferencing abilities, improve cognitive development, promote auditory skills and help modulate articulation. They help develop literacy in general, and some studies show that the predictability of the sounds and getting to know a rhyme by heart can build confidence and be soothing for kids. The vocabulary is age-appropriate and shouldn't present any problems for the target audience.
I do have to warn adults and caregivers that the end is a bit shocking and can be upsetting for sensitive kids, so they should probably be present the first time the kid reads the book. The ending was the part I enjoyed the least.
The book is exceptionally well edited, and I couldn't find a single mistake. I recommend this book for young readers of preschool age, as well as parents, caregivers, and teachers that want to introduce a fun book with a positive message to kids this age. I wouldn't recommend it for kids past age 6 or 7, as they might find the plot too simple and get bored.
I rate Four Funny Potatoes by Len Foley 4 out of 4 stars for its funny plot, encouraging life lesson, musical and beneficial use of language resources and attractive illustrations.
Four Funny Potatoes!
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