Little Sweet Potato


"It's not all mulch and sunshine out there."

When Little Sweet Potato rolls away from his patch, he is forced to search for a new home. He stumbles upon some very mean plants on his journey and begins to wonder if maybe he is too lumpy and bumpy to belong anywhere. Will Little Sweet Potato ever find a home that's just right for him?

Amy Beth Bloom and Noah Z. Jones have created a funny and timeless tale about appreciating one's self, lumps and ...

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"It's not all mulch and sunshine out there."

When Little Sweet Potato rolls away from his patch, he is forced to search for a new home. He stumbles upon some very mean plants on his journey and begins to wonder if maybe he is too lumpy and bumpy to belong anywhere. Will Little Sweet Potato ever find a home that's just right for him?

Amy Beth Bloom and Noah Z. Jones have created a funny and timeless tale about appreciating one's self, lumps and bumps and all, and finding a community that takes all kinds.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
…[a] heartfelt and heartwarming debut about a tuber who doesn't fit in.
—Pamela Paul
Publishers Weekly
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.)
New York Times Book Review
“Heartfelt and heartwarming.”
Children's Literature - Kim Harris Thacker
Little Sweet Potato loves his life in the sweet potato patch, so when the farmer's tractor knocks him from his loamy home and sends him rolling into the road, he knows he must do his best to find his way back to where he belongs. He encounters numerous colorful garden patches in his search for the rich soil he knows and cherishes, but none of the vegetables or flowers in the patches welcomes him to join them. That is, until he reaches the "Hodge-Podge Patch." Here, friendly plants of every shape, size, and variety have made their home and are only too happy to accept a "lumpy, dumpy, and wonderfully bumpy" sweet potato. Young readers and their parents and teachers will appreciate the theme of this charming picture book, which is acceptance of others, regardless of physical appearance. The illustrations are wonderfully bright and very kid-friendly, with quirky faces drawn on each plant character in the book. Reviewer: Kim Harris Thacker
School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
Accidently uprooted from his garden patch, a sweet potato is repeatedly excluded from other gardens before landing in just the right place. Little Sweet Potato has lived peacefully in his garden patch until vibrations from a tractor shake him loose from his vine and toss him onto a road. Wondering how to get back home, he bravely rolls to another garden, occupied by resident carrots who wiggle "their long orange bodies," call him "lumpy, dumpy, and…bumpy" and reject him. Little Sweet Potato resolutely continues to another patch, where handsome eggplants with satiny skin refuse him because of his "dumpy, bumpy, and kinda lumpy" appearance. At the next garden, flowers with "velvety blue and yellow faces" shun Little Sweet Potato because he's a "lumpy, bumpy, dumpy vegetable." Following similar receptions from the grapes and squash, Little Sweet Potato is about to give up when he's welcomed into a garden teeming with all kinds of plants who praise his lumpy, dumpy, bumpy figure. Rendered in strong black outlines and bright colors, the comical illustrations track Little Sweet Potato's solitary roll across sequential double-page spreads. Cartoonlike, anthropomorphic veggies, fruits and flowers add humor with their hilarious expressions, ranging from haughty and scornful to enthusiastic and approving. A tale of rejection and acceptance with echoes of "The Ugly Duckling." (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061804397
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 413,371
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Beth Bloom, Writer-in-Residence at Wesleyan University, has been nominated for a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award for her adult fiction. This is her first book for young readers.

Noah Z. Jones is an author, illustrator, and animator. He has illustrated numerous books for children, including Not Norman by Kelly Bennett and Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts. Noah lives with his family in Los Angeles, California.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 3, 2012

    I'm a mother of two, and several friends recommended this book f

    I'm a mother of two, and several friends recommended this book for my children. I've read it each night to the kids since we got it, and they can't get enough of the "dumpy, bumpy, and kinda lumpy" hero, Little Sweet Potato. In 17 beautifully illustrated pages, Little Sweet Potato leaves home, enters a scary world, and eventually finds true peace in hodgepodge garden. The story could not be any cuter, and the word play is adorable to boot. I would (and already have) suggest this book to parents everywhere. A must read for children.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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