CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 15 . . . . March 31, 2000
Once there was a farmer who had an eye.Davis has retold the familiar folk tale of the the struggle to harvest the biggest potato in the world. At first, the farmer tries to pull the potato out of the ground, but he is unsuccessful. Then he calls for assistance from his wife, and, when their joint efforts fail, the children, the dog, cat and mouse are requested to help. The combined effort ends happily with an enormous feast involving all the villagers. Dusan Petricic's artwork is rendered watercolour and pencil. These humorous illustrations, which expand over most of the page, have a cartoon-like quality and add enormously to the story. The pictures of the farmer and his wife, who are potato shaped, and the pets with their expressive faces are wonderful. The story is retold in very simple repetitive language which makes the book more effective as a read aloud story than as a silent read; however, beginning readers will have a sense of accomplishment when they follow the patterns in the story by themselves. The repetition invites audience participation, but the style uses such a limited vocabulary that, potentially, the repetition can be irritating. Nonetheless, libraries needing to add to their folktale collection will find The Enormous Potato a welcome addition.
Meredith MacKeen is the teacher-librarian at Glen Stewart School in Stratford, P.E.I.
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