4 out of 4 stars
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Four Funny Potatoes! is a picture book by Len Foley intended for children ages 2-7. The story begins with a rehearsal for a singing quartet named the “Four Funny Potatoes.” Right away we see a fancy and mustachioed string bean with upright posture and pompous comportment. He is the director. The director raises his megaphone and shouts, “Action!” The singers launch into a jolly tune about being potatoes. The song introduces the members of the quartet. Arnie, who is a dancer, appears to have been inspired by the 1970’s because he has disco moves and wide-lapeled attire. Jimmy is known for his funny pants. Marvin likes to juggle tomatoes (although it looks like they do not enjoy being juggled). The fourth member of the quartet is tall and yellow Benny. Benny interrupts the rehearsal to point out that he is not a potato. He proposes a more inclusive song. Can he persuade the director to cast him as a banana?
Every page of Four Funny Potatoes! is organized in a stimulating way. The illustrations combine crisp, professional photographs with hand-drawn additions that transform the otherwise inert food items into tasty characters. In addition to the quartet, we see other types of fruits and vegetables. We also see cooked foods like eggs, donuts, and fries. We even watch a watermelon being tossed around by a green jelly bean. My favorite detail is the tiny frown on the perplexed peanut. The peanut doesn’t seem to know what is happening as he is inserted into a song. Each of the characters has an expressive face and exuberant gestures.
The vivid graphics and rhythmic text combine for an imaginative and lively story. The written content has nice alliteration and rhyming. It’s the kind of writing that tempts readers to make silly faces and read out loud together. I imagine some readers will come up with their own tunes and sing along with the characters.
While Four Funny Potatoes! is intended for readers ages 2-7, I think kids slightly older will enjoy it too. It has sensible messages about the value of teamwork and being yourself, even if you are different from others. This book would be a good conversation starter about standing up for yourself in appropriate ways.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Four Funny Potatoes! is charming and endearing. There was nothing I didn’t like about this amusing story. The quirky illustrations, rhyming, and rhythm combine for an exuberant tale. Kids will want to hear it again and again.
Four Funny Potatoes!
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