The Couch Potato

HarperCollins/Harper. Nov. 2020. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062954534.
K-Gr 3–The term couch potato was coined in 1979 to describe kids who spent more time on the couch than outside playing. John’s book toys with that concept in this exaggerated story of an anthropomorphic potato who pridefully shows the reader every device it owns. Each of them is designed to make sure Couch Potato never gets off the couch. When one last device is delivered and is plugged in, the lights go out. Couch Potato opens the curtains and notices what they haven’t seen in ages: the outdoors! With nothing else to do, Couch Potato ventures outside and finds there is plenty to do. The COVID-19 pandemic has kept children in isolation indoors and developing couch potato tendencies through no fault of their own; this tale is timely and helps make the point that a balance of technology and old-school fun might be the way to go. The cartoonish art serves the story well, reaching for every last pun and bit of wordplay.
VERDICT A goofy story about the dangers of too much of one thing, and a lighthearted lesson for all.

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