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The Enormous Potato Paperback – September 1, 1999


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The Enormous Potato + Gigantic Turnip + The Giant Cabbage: An Alaska Folktale
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1-A sunny retelling of Tolstoy's The Great Big Enormous Turnip in which the characters work together and share the rewards of their labor. A plump, pigeon-toed farmer plants a potato eye that grows into "the biggest potato in the world." Unable to uproot it himself, he calls for his wife's assistance. The stubborn spud remains firmly planted, even after his daughter, dog, and cat are recruited. It is only with the small mouse's one-handed contribution to the group effort that the vegetable is finally ripped from the ground. The family shares its harvest with the jubilant townspeople until the potato, like the story, is gone. With cheerful golden yellow backdrops, the humorous watercolor-and-pencil illustrations reveal the chubby characters grimacing as they struggle to free the fleshy root from the muddy ground and their pleasure in consuming it. An entertaining example of teamwork and cooperation, this simply told tale would work as a read-aloud and, with its short sentences, repetition, and large print, as an easy-reader.
Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Davis uses a potato instead of the traditional turnip in this retelling of a familiar folktale. When the eye of a potato grows into the biggest potato in the world, a farmer must call for reinforcements to pull the vegetable out of the ground. Help comes in the form of the farmer's wife, daughter, dog, and cat, and finally a mouse, who adds just enough extra muscle to get the job done. The potato, when it finally appears, is huge, taking up most of a double-page spread and almost burying the folks who pulled it out. It's big enough to feed all the people of the town, who completely devour it. The hilarious watercolor-and-pencil illustrations add a freshness and vitality to a classic tale of teamwork. Helen Rosenberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 80L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550746693
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550746693
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Before becoming an award-winning writer and storyteller, Aubrey Davis worked as a logger, house painter and lab technician. He sold antiques, car parts, books, and beads. A retired teacher with an M. Ed. in psychology and adult education, he taught an oral language program to primary and special needs students. He has written four books: Bone Button Borscht, Sody Salleratus and The Enormous Potato. His latest, Bagels for Benny, has won multiple awards including the Sydney Taylor Award, The Mr. Christie Award (Silver) and the Canadian Jewish Book Awards Children's Literature Prize. Aubrey has also written a screenplay for Sheldon Cohen's new animated film, The Three Wishes (Film & DVD: NFB & PMA Productions, 2005). His forthcoming picture books are Kishka for Koppel (Orca, Fall 2011, A Hen for Izzy Pippik/Une Poule pour Izzy Pippik (Kids Can Press/Editions Scholastic, March 2012). Aubrey tells his tales to people of all ages across Canada and the US. A featured presenter at festivals and conferences, he's also told stories on national radio and television. He is currently Director and Corporate Secretary for The Institute for Cross-cultural Exchange (ICE), a charity helping at-risk Canadian and Afghan children read and own their own books. Aubrey lives in Toronto with his wife and storyteller Sandra Carpenter-Davis and their dog, JojoBella. His daughter and grandchildren live in Saskatoon.and his son lives nearby.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. McDaniel on October 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
My 2 year old son LOVES this book. What makes it even better is that I enjoy reading it too. The premise is simple - a potato grows so big the farmer can't pull it out so he calls his wife to help and then she calls the daughter and so on. After it is finally out, the family shares it with the town. We love the rythmic wording and watercolor pictures. Give it a chance, it's cuter than these descriptions make it sound.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jill Bredal on October 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My young children loved this book. It has a simple, rhythmic story line that builds satisfyingly to an exciting conclusion, when the family finally pulls the huge potato out of the ground. The illustrations are lively and amusing. This book is just right for children under six. Personally, I even found the unembellished nature of the book refreshing, and I read lots of books to kids every day!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
What qualities does a Spudman seek while surveying a children's literature book? Foremost on my list of qualities is the fun factor. Does the author present a preposterous, outlandish situation, or perhaps someone or something silly, or a storyline a little outside the box? Is there any suspense, excitement, or adventure therein? Does the book have at least one likeable or memorable character and illustrations that mesh with the text to enhance, reinforce, clarify, and contextualize? Does the author use reasonable, age appropriate vocabulary with contextual or picture clues for the more difficult words? Does he or she use repetition to reinforce and give practice for newly introduced words or incorporate predictable patterns with words, phrases or rhyme? Is there a lesson to be learned from the story or a good example to follow? Is it an effective teaching tool masquerading as pure fun and entertainment, like a functional mini van with lots of chrome, flame decals and a Potato Head hood ornament? And, of course, is the plot potato driven?

The ENORMOUS Potato, written by Aubrey Davis and illustrated by Dusan (yes, Dusan) Petricic) is one of those rare gems with most of the above ingredients and more to ingratiate it to this writer. It is a wholesome retelling of Aleksei Tolstoy's "The Gigantic Turnip". Aleksei's "War and Peas" is not to be confused with Leo's grand "War and Peace." The ENORMOUS Potato is a deceptively simple book rich in story and learning value, one greater than the sum of its parts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Villa on April 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Delightful illustrations combined with a silly text brought laughter to my 4-year-old grandson. Recommended!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a great time using this book in the classroom last year with Kindergarteners and 1st graders. We created a whole storybook curriculum around it and other related stories (The Enormous Turnip and The Giant Carrot). The kids instantly picked up on the repetition and loved to act out pulling the potato out of the ground as we read the story. Great book that the kids wanted to read again and again!
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By Serina R. on December 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
It's a great story that encourages memory through repetition and has delightful illustrations! I'm so thankful to have received this as a gift, but now I've read this book to my daughter so many times, it's falling apart! I need to buy another one so my son can enjoy it too. Glad to have found it here.
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Format: Paperback
This retelling of the folktale shows what can be done when everyone pitches in to do something that might otherwise seem an impossible task. This is a book for very young children.

DeeDee Fox, author and illustrator, The Ruby Red Slipper
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