The Life Lesson To Children By Len Foley
Have you ever felt like the odd man out? Or like no one is listening no matter how loudly or how many times you say something? Well, don’t feel alone. Benny is right there with you. Perhaps I should begin from the beginning. During the day, our food rests quietly while we go about our own way. At night though, at night the rules change. You see, while we sleep, our food comes out to put on a show. Silly grapes do backflips off a chair, and Sofia the sandwich stands on one hand, but the real showstopper is the funny potatoes. Arnie Potato dances, Jimmy Potato shows off his super fantastic pants, Marvin Potato juggles, and Benny Po… wait…Benny doesn’t look like a potato. Why is he long and skinny instead of pudgy and round, shiny and yellow, not lumpy and brown? Benny repeatedly tries to set the others straight on exactly what he is (and isn’t), but no one wants to listen. Will Benny ever get through to them?
Len Foley has succeeded in writing yet another winner. In Four Funny Potatoes, his creativity and intuition about what children like are evident. It is an incredibly fun (and funny) picture book. It is also a subtle life lesson to children about being true to oneself, about not being afraid to be who you really are despite what others may want you to be. Foley has made his characters vibrantly colorful and larger than life with animated human features that reflect the emotion they are feeling. Benny’s expression often reveals frustration and that comes through clearly in the illustrations. The fun fonts the author uses throughout the book fit perfectly with the action taking place and are often tied to the character on that page in some way, like Benny’s text being a shiny yellow. Foley utilizes rhyme and repetition, two features almost guaranteed to engage young children. Each page contains only two sentences of text, so even the youngest of readers should not find it overwhelming.
I couldn’t really find anything not to like about this book. It contains absolutely no grammar errors and, in addition to its message and potential for pure riotous entertainment, it could easily serve the additional purpose of helping parents teach particularly young children the names of different foods. If I had to pick something, I would have to say I wasn’t overly fond of the ending. Let’s just say that things don’t turn out all that well for poor Benny. Oh, and due to the very energetic way it is written, it might not be the best book to read right before bed!
Four Funny Potatoes is aimed at the three to seven-year-old age group but could easily be fun for younger children as well. The bright illustrations and bouncy language style should easily hold their attention. It would also be a pleasant addition to classroom libraries from preschool to second grade. In all, with its extremely relevant life lesson, vivid pictures, and catchy rhyming scheme, as well as the complete absence of errors, I wholeheartedly give Four Funny Potatoes by Len Foley 4 out of 4 stars.
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