One potato, two potato, three potato, four. Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more—more potato puns than you can count, as a young spud strives to win the sack race at the Spud City Festival.
After training all year to win the Golden Bushel Award, Chip learns he must beat Curly, the new spud in town. From pre-race to finish, Breisacher and Heinsz use their setup to share verbal and brightly colored visual puns that children will enjoy. The race begins at the corner of Russet Boulevard and Fry Avenue. Couch potatoes—resting on a couch, of course—line the race route. The Waffle Fries can’t decide whom to root on. First Chip is in the lead. Then Curly speeds past. After Curly trips, the way is clear for Chip to win. Instead he offers Curly a hand up, and they race toward the finish line together. Chip doesn’t win, but he gains a friend, and Chip and Curly team up for the relay. Maybe that coveted Golden Bushel Award is within reach after all. All characters are potatoes illustrated in a range of (potato-y) skin tones. However, both Chip and Curly are male, and only the Sweet Potato cheerleaders are explicitly coded as female (with pink skirts and pompoms). The book’s raison d’être is the wordplay, with Home Fries, Tater Tots, and Twice Bakes joining the cast of characters and a spud-centric attitude toward verbs: These taters “wedge,” “whip,” “hash,” “pancake,” and “peel,” all leading up to the moment when “Chip’s dreams of winning [are] mashed.”
For children who appreciate clever and silly puns (Picture book. 4-8)