Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider

Cover for Tales for Very Picky Eaters

Oh No!

Schneider, Josh, Tales for Very Picky Eaters. 2011, Clarion Books. ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1, early reader.

Quote:”I can’t eat broccoli,” said James.  “It’s disgusting.”

Awards: 2012 Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Plot: James doesn’t like many foods so his dad gets creative.  He spins stories about what will happen if James does not eat!

What I Thought: This book is an interesting early reader.  There are four stories about what will happen if James doesn’t eat broccoli, milk, oatmeal or lasagna.  The fifth story has James describing what he thinks his dad is going to say to try to get him to eat eggs and is a cute reversal of the previous stories.  James’ unnamed father does not appear in the cartoon illustrations but James and his dog are drawn reacting to the scenarios the father describes.  This is an advanced early reader as the vocabulary is a little challenging.

Audience:  students in 1st-3rd grade, depending on reading fluency and picky eatingness!

Strengths/weaknesses: The stories are funny with great illustrations but a become a bit repetitive in tone, which is somewhat expected in an early reader.

Uses: Besides as a reading along with a child, a couple stories could be used in a story time and lead to some fun discussions about food.

Read-alikes: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess, It’s a Book by Lane Smith, Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems


Picture pulled from Tower Books.


Creepy Carrots! written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown

Cover of Creepy Carrots!

They’re coming for you!

Reynolds, Aaron and Peter Brown, Creepy Carrots! 2012, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3, Picture Book.

Quote: Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots…

Awards: was a 2013 Caldecott Honor book

Plot: Jasper Rabbit loves carrots!  He picks them and eats them all the time.  But one day he thinks he sees some carrots following him, stalking him, and completely creeping him out!  No one believes the carrots are after him, so Jasper takes matters into his own hands.

What I Thought:  This pictures book was very good.  The art is really great; the dark shadows make a contrast with the bright splashes of the orange carrots.  The book plays with the zombie trope so popular in the culture at this time in a way that kids can enjoy.  The happy ending also mitigates some of the scariness.

Audience: Kids over the age of 4-5 who like a bit of a scare.

Strengths/weaknesses: The art is cute with illustrations in black, white, shades of grey and the very important carrot orange!  It is definitely in a comic style and the cover looks like a movie poster.   It could be a little scary for younger children.

Uses: This would be a fabulous story time book!  It would work for Halloween or springtime and carrot- or bunny-based crafts would fit perfectly.

Read-alikes: Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy, Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds and Neil Numberman, Go to Bed Monster! byNatasha Wing and Sylvie Kantorovitz, and  Wolves by Emily Gravett

Picture pulled from School Library Journal.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Cover for Matilda by Roald Dahl

what to read, what to read?

Roald Dahl, Matilda. 1994, Recorded Books. ISBN: 0-7887-3450-4, audiobook read by Ron Keith.

Quote: The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She traveled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.

Plot:  Matilda is a brilliant little girl, despite the mean, anti-literate adults around her.  Her parents would rather she just watch TV and stop pestering them for books.  When her big brain gives her telekinetic powers, Matilda uses them to help the one good adult in her life, her teacher Miss Honey.

What I thought: Matilda is a wonderful little book.  The chapters are short and a episodic, the action quick.  It’s also quite funny; Matilda is a whiz at playing tricks on her awful father.  Kids getting  one over on adults is always such a great theme.  It is also great, as a book lover, to read about a little girl who also loves books and learning.

Audience:  the book’s target is kids in grades 2-4, kids under that age would be able to understand the audio version.

Strengths/weaknesses:  Though the choice to have a male narrator when the protagonist and main characters are female is a strange one, Ron Keith is quite good.

Uses:  This book would work well in a classroom for read-aloud time as the chapters are quick.  It could also be used for a single struggling reader, with the text open so that the child can follow along.

Read-alikes: Perhaps Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh or other Dahl like The Witches or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Series of Unfortunate Events books would work for readers on the older end.

Picture pulled from School Library Journal