Monday, December 24, 2012

Book #359: Potato Joe by Keith Baker

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Based on the classic, One Potato, Two Potato nursery rhyme, the potatoes in this book count themselves out from one to ten and then back down again. The potatoes are just so excited to be out of the ground! In bouncing rhyming text the spuds “ro-de-O!” and “do-si-do” with their friends, Tomato Flo and Watermelon Moe. All too soon it’s time to roll back into the garden and underground where potatoes grow.

All the rhyming text in this energetic book is spoken by the potatoes, either solo or in a rousing chorus, and presented in large speech bubbles. The font is large and the color of the text changes from bubble to bubble. Each page features only a handful of words, keeping the tempo of this book lively. Although the book lacks a plot, it doesn’t matter because the potatoes keep on celebrating and rhyming in sunshine or snow, piled high or piled low. The illustrations were created in Photoshop and feature ten smiling potatoes with lively eyes and button noses. The tone of the book is welcoming and this is reinforced by the use of soft edges and light texturing. Movement is emphasized with swirling white lines. Keep your eyes open for the small black ant that Baker has hidden in nearly all the illustrations. Other creatures can be seen in various pictures, including spiders, caterpillars, and ladybugs.

The short text and rolling rhythm of this book make it a great choice for a baby or toddler storytime. I’m a big fan of singing books and this one is such fun to sing/chant. Began or end your reading by singing your favorite version of the One Potato, Two Potato rhyme. For slightly older kids try this version that was featured on Sesame Street.

Use this book as part of a food or vegetable & fruit themed storytime and pair it with The Belly Bookok or Orange Pear Apple BearYou could also use this book for a gardens and growing themed storytime. Good books to pair include, Underground, My Garden, and Planting a Rainbow.

Follow up with some potato crafts. Make potato stamps or your own homemade Mr. Potatohead. If you’re reading this book at home head to the kitchen to make some delicious potato based foods, like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or french fries.

If you like this book, check out Baker’s other books, especially Big Fat Hen and Hickory Dickory Dock, which are also based on nursery rhymes.


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