Stay-at-home dad Mr. Russet is displeased by the appearance of a literal couch potato in his home, not to mention his family’s response to it.
After seeing his children off to school and his wife to work, the apron-clad, fussy Mr. Russet discovers a potato on the living room couch. Annoyed at whomever left it there, amid other untidiness, he decides to leave it be. But when his family returns, their lack of conscientiousness appalls him. Son Reid pretends it’s a boulder before forgetting about it; Mrs. Russet thinks it’s a ball and tosses it to the dog; daughter Violet dresses it up as though it were a doll; all three ignore it as they crowd onto the couch to watch TV. During his “potato protest,” Mr. Russet lets the house go into totally disarray and also neglects his own self-care. When he finally snaps, nine days later, and cleans up, Mr. Russet serves his family a big dinner, including a plate of French fries. His family is dismayed, but precisely why is unclear since they seemed more oblivious to the potato than affectionate. Mr. Russet, however, eats the fries with relish—and not the kind made of pickles. Huang’s illustrations, done in colored pencils, gouache, and watercolor, have a flat-planed, childlike look that displays the increasing clutter in amusing detail. The family presents white.
Salty but not wholly satisfying. (Picture book. 4-7)