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FAST FOOD! GULP! GULP! by Bernard Waber


by Bernard Waber & illustrated by Bernard Waber

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-14189-8
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Kids are prime targets of fast food chain marketing, with a corresponding decline in juvenile nutrition that concerns parents and health professionals. Waber (The Mouse That Snored, 2000, etc.) takes a humorous, gently chiding look at our national tendency to grab and gorge with a rollicking, rhyming text incorporating lists of sound-effect words in staccato couplets. (“Slurp, slurp! Burp, burp!”) His whimsical watercolors show a variety of anthropomorphic mammals chowing down on both familiar fast food fare and all sorts of additional restaurant dishes that kids like. The confusing story line cuts between a food court and three fast food restaurants, all owned by take-charge male animals who demand ever-faster eating. A closer view of one restaurant shows an all-male counter crew and an all-female kitchen crew, with a female cook (a pig) who abruptly quits because she can’t take the pace. She moves on to a better job at the Veggie Hut, whose patrons enjoy “taking time to enjoy the scenery.” Some snide rhyming couplets from the fast food customers describe her descent “into a snit.” (“Began to pout.” “Then walked out.”) We all need fewer french fries and more broccoli, but we don’t need to see an old-boy network of exclusively male business owners, an outmoded view of an emotional female in the kitchen, or sensitive vegetarians. Humorous illustrations, confusing setting changes, and outmoded stereotypes don’t add up to a Happy Meal. (Picture book. 4-8)