The Couch Potato by Jory John

The Couch Potato by Jory John; illustrated by Pete Oswald. 2020. Scanned watercolor textures and digital paint. Published by HarperCollins.

Brief summary: A couch potato shares how wonderful his life is by sitting on the couch all day watching everything on a collection of screens. He can spend time with his friends via live-stream, play video games, and enjoy his favorite games all the while eating, drinking, and being comfortable without leaving his couch. One day, the delivery of a video camera arrives. When Couch Potato plugs in the new device, all of the lights go out.

He decides to open up the drapes and go outside with his dog, Tater, for awhile. He enjoys the fresh air, the birds singing, and the feel of sitting next to a tree while watching the sunset. When he gets home, the power is back on. He begins wondering what he has been missing always sitting on the couch and vows to go out more. Soon, Couch Potato regularly goes outside to play and be with his friends on new adventures. He learns to balance both worlds.

Comments: What a hilarious story to help children learn to balance THEIR online time and outside world time. No lecturing. The humor will appeal to young readers. The illustrations are large and colorful.

This book would be a great addition to any young person’s collection but also could be used as an introduction to a media literacy unit on balancing online time via in-person time.

I’ll never look at a potato quite the same way.

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