Review by: Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang is an educational picture book for children written by Art Ehrens and illustrated by Bob Howard. Pete loves his job! He grows sweet potatoes which are his favorite thing to eat. Sweet potatoes are the sweetest surprise, and they’re even good for you. Each sweet potato is a nutritional powerhouse. Bob’s decided to take a cart filled with sweet potatoes into town so the kids there can all enjoy them as well. He digs up his sweet potatoes and piles his cart high, but the path into town goes over a steep hill, and Pete’s having problems pushing the cart to the top. Can he do it? When his friends come over to help, they seem to make all the difference.
Art Ehrens’ educational picture book for children, Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang, is a whimsical and fun homage to the humble sweet potato, which is so often overlooked -- but not by Pete! Pete’s even composed and recorded a song about the Sweet Potato which can be linked to in the book. Bob Howard’s classic and comical illustrations work so well with the story line. I loved his emphasis on oranges and greens as we watch the ebullient Pete discuss his favorite food and take his crops into town. Who says learning about nutrition can’t be fun? Not Sweet Potato Pete, that’s for sure. Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang is most highly recommended.
Reviewed by: Lit Amri
Sweet Potato Pete is a young country kid who loves sweet potatoes. He grows them on his farm and wants to bring a cart of sweet potatoes into town for all the other kids to enjoy. He can’t do it alone so he gets help from the Green Garden Gang; Carrot-top Karen, Green Pea Penelope, Banana Anna, Apple Andy, and String Bean Slim. Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang by Art Ehrens is the first book in the Green Garden Gang series.
Illustrated by Bob Howard, the colorful pages are eye-catching and engaging for first and young readers. It can also be a wonderful baby book. It’s a great way to introduce kids to nutritious food. Sweet potato is delicious and full of essential nutrients. But kids are fussy eaters and persuading them to eat healthy food can be a nightmare. I see this series as a simple and fun way to teach little ones about healthy eating.
The narrative is short, delivered in a straightforward and charming manner. The names of the characters are funny and easy to remember. There are links to the original, catchy songs to make it a fun sing-along. My sister-in-law has a three-year-old son who loves singing and dancing, and the songs did their job by keeping him interested in the book. All in all, Sweet Potato Pete and The Green Garden Gang is engaging, vivid and brief to entertain and hold the attention of even the most reluctant young readers.
Reviewed By: Sarah Scheele
Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang by Art Ehrens is a fun-loving picture book about the value of vegetables and nutrition. It is accompanied by an audio track. Sweet Potato Pete, a friendly boy with flaming hair like the starchy tuber he’s named for, invites children on an accessible, entertaining discovery of the exciting world of healthy food. A big fan of vegetables, Pete is part of a gang of other children who each favor a healthy natural food—String Bean Slim, Carrot Top Karen, Apple Andy, and others—and when he’s unable to fulfill his mission to give his wagon of sweet potatoes to the nearby town, his friends all pitch in to help them.
Art Ehrens’ capable story uses an upbeat, cheerful tone to win kids over and the cleverly inserted song—just scan the bar code in the book—will have them singing along immediately. It’s very, very catchy and well worth the brief time taken to access it. If words like “veggies are good for you” and “you need lots of iron” aren’t ringing a bell with the kids, Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang take things straight to them. On their level, with a colloquial voice and a lot of bouncing enthusiasm, the little character even presents some real nutritional facts. Most importantly, Pete is excited about other people and getting them the good foods that they need, and he’s part of a group of loyal friends who share his wish to help others. His goals are not only nutritious, they are unselfish, and he provides a role model in more ways than just a very laudable love of fruits and vegetables.
Review by Viga Boland
Do your children love sweet potato pie? Then you need to share Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang by Art Ehrens with them. What a charming book and what a wonderful concept i.e. encouraging youngsters to eat their veggies through a cute short story and absolutely delightful illustrations by Bob. According to Ehrens, it’s Bob’s illustrations that captured everyone’s imaginations and believe me, they will capture yours too with their appeal to all of us who are still children at heart.
Sweet Potato Pete just loves sweet potatoes. He grows them, cooks them and “yum-yum” eats them. Not only can Pete do that, but he also can dance and sing, and he has a little song in this book that you can link to online so children can sing along with him! Your children will also be delighted by the names of his friends in the Green Garden Gang: Carrot Top Karen, Green Pea Penelope, Banana Anna, Apple Andy and String Bean Slim. Children will enjoy pointing out each of gang members as they help Pete push the heavy wheelbarrow of sweet potatoes up the hill so other children can eat them. After all, sweet potatoes not only taste good: they are good for you with all the vitamins Bob shows us in his illustrations. There’s probably only one more thing Art Ehrens could do with this book besides mesmerize us with the illustrations and delight us with the song. What? Make a YouTube video featuring the song and all those wonderful illustrations. Nice work, Art and Bob!
Review by Peggy Jo Wipf
Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang will entertain young minds with its playful story and joyful illustrations. Art Ehrens educates children about the health benefits of sweet potatoes as a young boy, Pete, tells of his love for this vegetable. Pete is so determined other children will enjoy them that he loads a cart of sweet potatoes and tries to take them to town. When his cart gets stuck, he must call on his friends to help him. Through this he introduces children to more helpful fruits and vegetables. There is Carrot Top Karen, Green Pea Penelope, Banana Anna, Apple Andy, and String Bean Slim, each of these reminding readers of the fruit or vegetable they are named after. With the help of his friends, will Sweet Potato Pete be able to get the cart up the hill and deliver the sweet potatoes to the children in town?
I found Sweet Potato Pete and the Green Garden Gang fun and witty. Art Ehrens keeps the story line engaging, but also adds a QR code so you can listen to a song about this character. The author includes the importance of teamwork to get the cart up the hill, but it is interesting to see his friends stay with Pete and even help him pass out the sweet potatoes. The illustrator, Bob Howard, brings this story alive with his colorful characters. I found it humorous that Pete resembles a sweet potato. Through the illustrations you can see the different personalities, body types, and interests of the friends; the author realizes the importance of teaching this to young children as they develop friendships of their own. I would recommend this book for preschool to early elementary children.