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PORCUPINE'S PICNIC by Betsy R. Rosenthal


Who Eats What?

by Betsy R. Rosenthal ; illustrated by Giusi Capizzi

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4677-9519-7
Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Porcupine’s picnic grows ever larger as new animals arrive with their own food choices until an unexpected guest alters the camaraderie.

Eager to share his basket full of clover, Porcupine learns that each of his friends has a preference. Koala likes eucalyptus leaves. Squirrel sticks with acorns. Giraffe snacks on tree leaves, Goat enjoys alfalfa, and Elephant chews on tree bark. The gathering grows with a dizzying assortment of herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores: Chicken, Panda, Reindeer, Zebra, Baboon, Anteater, Black Bear, Bald Eagle, Toad, and Weasel all politely ask to join and provide a sampling of their food selections. Digital art depicts an amiable atmosphere, its characters appearing flat and unnaturally sweet. None of the meat-eating animals seem at all tempted by their companions until Tiger appears, declaring his dinner choice (everyone) and causing the rest to scatter in all directions. The repetitious, sometimes-tedious text diligently samples a worldwide list of animals from all three eating groups, as outlined in the author’s note. The simplistic story cannot, of course, accurately represent the specificity of most of these animals’ diets, and the fact that their habitats vary wildly is elided.

Poor science and poor storytelling make for a poor combination. (Picture book. 5-8)