Like the bird in P.D. Eastman's classic Are You My Mother?, the vegetable hero of adult author Bloom's first children's book is also trying to get home--and the world at large is even more hostile in this outing. When Little Sweet Potato is accidentally tossed out of his garden patch and into the road, he rolls along trying to find where he belongs. As he is rebuffed by eggplants, flowers, and squash that keep to their own kind (the carrots tell him he's "lumpy, dumpy, and--we have to say it--you're bumpy"), he realizes that he "didn't know the world had such mean vegetation in it." Eventually, Little Sweet Potato finds a place where he fits in--because everyone does; Jones's bold cartoons portray the vegetables, fruits, flowers, and fungi in Hodge-Podge Patch with wide eyes and manic grins. The ending has just enough drollery ("It's not all mulch and sunshine out there," says an eggplant) to leaven the story's didactic message about diversity. Ages 4-7. Agent: Jennifer Walsh, William Morris Endeavor. Illustrator's agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
PreS-Gr 1--Little Sweet Potato's search for a place to belong begins when he is accidentally ejected onto the road from his garden patch. Rolling from field to field, he is repeatedly rejected for his lumpy, bumpy, dumpy exterior by the carrots, eggplants, flowers, and so on, who are all thoroughly unpleasant. "He didn't know the world had such mean vegetation in it." He is completely dispirited when he hears a voice calling to him and saying very nice things. Soon the happy Little Sweet Potato finds himself in the Hodge-Podge Patch, which is filled with friendly and welcoming vegetables and flowers. As one of the pansies tells him, "Some just like their own kind…but we're the kind that likes all kinds." Bloom's text is clever and fun to read while getting her point across, and the dialogue is especially spot-on. Jones's amusing illustrations are filled with great expressions and cartoony goodness. The text is well integrated with the pictures in a layout that works well for one-on-one or group sharing. This simple story of rejection and acceptance will resonate with kids.--Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH[Page 111]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.