With a message-driven tale of a plump lad who turns over a new leaf, an ex-mayor of New York and his sister clobber readers with the Board of Education.
To judge from the contemporary dress of the figures in Hoefer’s inexpert illustrations, this isn’t intended to be autobiographical despite the main character’s name—though a breezy admission in the closing lecture that the co-authors were both "chubby" children does creates a certain resonance. Round as the apple he discards from his lunch every day, young Eddie chows down on fatty foods and avoids playground games for fear of embarrassment—until a friend tells him that he’s “a little heavy and out of shape. Maybe it’s because of the way you eat.” The next day Eddie begins asking his mom for healthier breakfasts than bagels with butter and also heads for the park to jog. A “few weeks” later he’s nimble enough to chase down a runaway baby carriage, hold his own in a playground dodgeball game and even join the school’s soccer team. Despite a seemingly simple program—eat less, cut down on the cookies, exercise regularly—will Eddie’s example prompt similar sudden epiphanies in rotund readers? Fat chance.
Larded with earnest purpose but unconvincing and far from likely to be the first call for attention to America’s weight problem that children or parents will encounter. (Picture book. 6-8)