Youngsters can see what their peers eat around the world.
The first double-page spread features lunchboxes from around the globe arrayed in an arc over a smiling planet Earth; each has a flap for readers to open. The subsequent eight pages give readers a closer look at dishes from Brazil, India, and Italy, to name a few. One line of a rhyming couplet floats at the top of each page: “In China, some lunches are steamed and some are stir-fried. / In France, we have a bit of fruit and cheese on the side.” Below each line, six or seven containers appear with more flaps that open to reveal a variety of signatures dishes from the featured nation. South Korean lunchboxes, for example, may contain simmered seaweed, kimchi, and gimbap (glossed parenthetically, as are many non-English terms, as “vegetable roll”). Elio’s cheery, whimsical cartoons in vibrant colors are fun to look at, but many foods may not look much like what the captions say they are; the stylized peanut-butter–and-jelly sandwich and dinosaur-shaped chicken tenders on the American page come immediately to mind. The whole, oblong package includes a die-cut handle at the top to give it a lunchbox look and feel.
While the book is undeniably playful, toddler readers won’t come away from the experience with much hope of identifying any of these foods in the real world. (Board book. 2-4)