Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eat Your Peas!: Books About Picky Eaters

From the time I learned I was pregnant, I was determined to do everything possible to ensure that I had a healthy eater who liked a wide variety of foods.  That sounds like the goal of a woman who is not yet a parent, right?  Yup...

I did everything "right" from infancy.  I made my own baby food, I made sure I offered a variety of vegetables and fruits.  I introduced various textures and taste combinations.  And until recently, my 3 year old was a really good eater.  And I was a proud mom for having achieved nutritional success with my munchkin. 

It was much to my chagrin, then, when my previously good eater turned into a not-so-good eater.  In fact, he has become a terrible eater.  I've caved to the advice of the pediatrician and started giving him a daily vitamin since he now eats ZERO vegetables.  I don't want to make dinnertime into a battle, but I find myself using phrases like: "You can have more ______, if you eat another (pea, slice of carrot, etc.)"  Ugh!  The trap I thought I had avoided....

So, to sooth my ego and frayed nerves, this week's theme list is about picky eaters.  And did I find a treasure trove of books out there!  I guess I'm not the only parent who has dealt with a strong-willed child at the dinner table.

Gregory, the Terrible Eater (Author: Mitchell Sharmat; Illustrators: Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey) - This childhood favorite of mine plays on the role of healthy food choices through the lens of goats that view junk food (literally!) as the best diet.  I always LOVED that Gregory, the goat, preferred fruits and vegetables to shoes and boxes.  After Gregory goes from one extreme to the other, however, he learns the importance of balance in his diet. 

The Seven Silly Eaters (Author: Mary Ann Hoberman; Illustrator: Marla Frazee) - In sweet rhyming verse, with illustrations that are reminiscent of a by-gone era, the eating habits of 7 brothers and sisters unfold until mayhem ensues.  This makes their mother a wreck and when they try to make her something special for her birthday, what they really make is a mess.  Enjoy the surprise ending that draws all their favorites together into one, unique dish!

Night of the Veggie Monster (Author/Illustrator: George McClements) - The hysterical illustrations make this story come to life as a boy, forced to eat his peas ("a whole three tonight") turns into a Veggie Monster!  The parents quip in speech bubbles, watching the drama unfold with detached remarks.  I will definitely be sharing this one with my preschooler!

I Will Never NOT EVER Eat a Tomato (Author/Illustrator: Lauren Child) - When Charlie has to feed his little sister Lola, he creatively creates a fascinating story behind each food (that Lola claims to hate) and changes the names so she is enticed to try them.  Lo and behold, she likes a variety of foods!

Little Pea (Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal; Illustrator: Jen Corace) - Similar to Gregory, the Terrible Eater, this is a story of eating habits turned on their head.  Little Pea, Mama Pea, and Papa Pea are a happy family.  But what do peas eat?  Candy, of course?  And does Little Pea like candy?  Not in the least.  You'll have to read it yourself to find out what his favorite dessert is!

MORE Picky Eater books that I discovered, but decided not to formally include in my list.  Look them up for more on this topic!

The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating (A. W. Flaherty/Scott Magoon) - A look at how the Loch Ness Monster came to be.

Tales For Very Picky Eaters (Josh Schneider) - Five short stories.

Bread and Jam for Frances (Russell Hoban/Lillian Hoban) - A classic in the Frances series.

Sweet Tooth (Margie Palatini/Jack E. Davis) - Imagine having a loud tooth in your mouth always yelling and demanding sweets....

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