Mr. Potato’s birthday party is an opportunity for games, counting and Doodler’s execrable verse.
Invitations sent (but not counted), Mr. Potato excitedly prepares for his party. It’s fun at first, as his friends mingle and they all play party games, but then the doorbell rings again, and 20 potatoes fill the room. With no way to turn or move, things quickly get out of hand, and suddenly, the accessorized brown ovals become accessorized white dollops, the potatoes having been “smushed.” “But… / …now that they were mashed potatoes, / the party could resume. / The potatoes had a ball / with much more party room!” Readers will recognize the familiar counting rhyme, though unlike Iza Trapani’s remakes, the rhythm and rhyme are big misses—“One potato in the house. / Then two, three, four, / five potato, six potato, / knocked at Mr. Potato’s door”—and only get worse, Doodler rhyming “sixteen” with “thinking,” “come” with “everyone,” “friends” with “again.” Even the seemingly digital illustrations are ho-hum, lacking the visual pop and graphic interest found in his other books. Worst, there is a little in the way of takeaway from this—what should readers learn? To carefully count their invitees? To smush them to make them fit the party space? To be relieved, as Mr. Potato is, when the guests all leave? That Newtonian physics do not apply to potatoes?
Skip. (Picture book. 3-5)