Tater Town
by Cathy Ross-Yockey
Trafford Publishing

"Your home town is what you make it. You must put in before you take it."

The deaths of authors Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Shel Silverstein left huge gaps in the ranks of talented writers of children's books that rely on poetry to charm their audience. Jack Prelutsky is still contributing a volume now and then to the sub-genre, but most tales for tots avoid using rhyme to entertain their readers. The author of this entertaining book about potato people, however, is endeavoring to give new life to this frequently neglected format. Reminiscent of Richard Scarry's Busytown series in its theme, Ross-Yockey's world of subterranean spuds is filled with smiling potatoes engaged in all of the activities and occupations you would expect to find in a typical small town. Readers meet Police Chief Rick, Fire Chief Baker Brown, Nurse Hope, Doctor Todd, and a host of other underground denizens. The town is ethnically diverse with residents having skins of every color, and the author makes a point of including those of all ages and sizes, as well.

In addition to gentle admonitions to mind one's manners, obey the rules, and not take drugs, Ross-Yockey throws in a few laughs such as portraying a sick character as "mashed" and having Frenchie Frye as the crinkle-cut-shaped teacher. Although the author is not charting any new territory with this book, it is a worthwhile addition to the children's poetry canon. Combined with Debbie Reich's quirky and fun-filled illustrations, Ross-Yockey's potatoes are sure to please.

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