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MEALTIME by Elizabeth Verdick


From the Toddler Tools series

by Elizabeth Verdick, illustrated by Marieka Heinlen

Age Range: 1 - 4

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-57542-366-1
Publisher: Free Spirit

There's not a lot of flavor here for youngsters mastering the art—and coping with the inevitable mess—of eating.

Racially diverse children prepare for their meal together and share without spilling their hearty lunch. The students clear their plates before they play, guided by their teacher's bubbly directions. “Some for me, / and some for you— / don't forget a Thank you.” Bogged down by didactic reminders of the benefits of nutrition and the necessity of manners, plain phrases drag. A forced enthusiasm adds little to the conversation at this dinner table. “Clean hands for you and me. / Look and see!” Patterned details and illustrations add some flavor in wallpapered backgrounds and the preschoolers' retro clothing. Static facial expressions kill any fluidity. A parents' note provides general and uninspired guidelines to continually promote these healthy habits.

The joys of mealtime are impossible to swallow, squashed down as they are by the heavy-handed message. (Board book. 1-4)