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I GET SO HUNGRY by Bebe Moore Campbell


by Bebe Moore Campbell & illustrated by Amy Bates

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-399-24311-0
Publisher: Putnam

Nikki is fat. Her vibrant teacher is also fat. Campbell establishes immediately a causal link between fatness and overeating (both Nikki and her teacher furtively sneak food during class). At home, mom provides only fried foods, lying to their doctor about what they eat. When Mrs. Patterson turns up absent from school for an unspecified fat-related illness, Nikki asks mom’s permission to diet. The supposed happy ending presents Mrs. Patterson's return, thinner and suddenly healthy; Nikki joins her for exercise, and Mrs. Patterson advises Nikki to “eat a little less” and “not when you're sad or angry or bored.” The emotional eating ceases instantly. The text fosters common myths that all fat people necessarily overeat and are unhealthy, and that thinness is possible for everyone, achievable through carrot sticks and brisk walks. All kids—not just fat ones—deserve information about nutrition and exercise, and fat characters deserve to be more than stereotypes of sloth and greed. Bates’s beautifully composed watercolors deserve better than these misleading messages. (Picture book. 5-7)