Friday, June 17, 2011

Tales for Very Picky Eaters: a review

Schneider, Josh. 2011. Tales for Very Picky Eaters. New York: Clarion.

If you read my blog often (and thanks if you do), you'll know that I don't normally get excited over chapter books.  It's hard to break new ground or do much "outside the box," with a beginning reader or chapter book (unless you're Mo Willems). 

Tales for Very Picky Eaters doesn't break new ground - it's the standard chapter book size, 48 pages long, and contains five short illustrated chapters that can stand alone, but  tie together in a neat little story.  So why do I like Tales for Very Picky Eaters?  Begin with the chapter titles - sure to please the most reluctant or recalcitrant reader. Each is a tale - "The Tale of the Disgusting Broccoli," "The Tale of the Smelly Lasagna," and my personal favorite, "The Tale of the Repulsive Milk" (never have been a fan of milk!). But what truly makes this book different is Schneider's very dry sense of humor.
Take the "Tale of the Lumpy Oatmeal."
"I can't eat oatmeal," said James.  "It's lumpy."
"Okay," said James's father.
"Okay?" asked James.
"Okay," James's father said again. "We just need to be extra careful from now on."
"Why?" asked James.
"Well, I got a great deal at the store.  They were selling Growing Oatmeal.  You can eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and it will grow right back overnight.  We'll never run out.  It will just keep growing and growing."
James' dad goes on to explain that if they don't eat the oatmeal, it will keep growing and growing.

"And growing oatmeal has quite an appetite.  It will start eating the other foods."
Growing Oatmeal is apparently fond of cake and ice cream, and
"we will have to keep a close eye on the dog because Growing Oatmeal is not a very picky eater."
(cue the devoted Basset Hound here, looking mournful with a framed photo in his mouth, featuring himself with James - no words necessary)
"Could you make some oatmeal with fewer lumps?" James asked.
"Why certainly," said James's father.
Kids will get this kind of humor and I predict they'll like it. Slimy eggs, anyone?

 Wednesday evening my son graduated from 8th grade, Thursday evening, my eldest daughter graduated from high school. It's been a busy time for me, hence my sporadic posts. Next week, I'll be off to ALA in New Orleans for the annual conference. I, and several others will be microblogging from New Orleans for ALSC. Be sure to check out the ALSC Blog!

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