Potato Joe

Keith Baker, Author
Keith Baker, Author . Harcourt $16 (40p) ISBN 978-0-15-206230-9
Reviewed on: 06/16/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008

This book gets sillier and sillier without ever forsaking its low-key cool, and that's no small potatoes. Readers may think they're in for a rehash of the classic counting rhyme “One potato, two potato, three potato four.” But Potato Joe and his fellow spuds quickly prove that theirs is no meat-and-potatoes affair; in fact, if it can rhyme with potato, they're all over it: playing tic-tac-toe, spotting a big black crow, holding a rodeo, flirting with saucy Tomato Flo. Baker (Big Fat Hen ) doesn't give himself much to work with: his characters are essentially a collection of velvety brown ovals with the simplest of faces, and all the action takes place on a strip of dirt and is framed straight on (readers are asked to tilt the book sideways when the potatoes create a towering pile-up). But only someone with cold sour cream running through his veins could resist turning the page to see what rhyme and activity are served up next. Ages 3–7. (June)