No Cheese Please!

An easily accessible picture book that might be a good choice for parents struggling to get their children to try new foods,...

A mouse realizes that his dislike for cheese is just because he hasn’t found the right flavor in this debut children’s tale by author Woolford and illustrator Stumpf.

Nick, a mouse, doesn’t care for cheese, but he isn’t picky about other foods: “Carrots, peas, beans, beef, chicken, beets and corn / Had all been Nick’s favorites since the day he was born.” His mother, though, pressures him into eating cheese and even sneaks it into his food. Nick can always tell when she does this, and eventually he decides that he wants her to accept him for who he is. At this point, the book leads readers to expect that Nick is on a journey toward self-acceptance: he’s different, and that’s OK. But instead, his mother offers him a deal if he’ll try a piece of Parmesan cheese: “If you don’t like it, then my nagging is through. / I won’t beg you to eat cheese again, not even the Bleu.” Nick does so and discovers that he does indeed like it. The experience makes him turn over a new leaf, and he’s suddenly eager to try every cheese he comes across. The silly concept of a mouse who doesn’t like cheese is likely to appeal to young readers. Woolford’s poetry rhymes reasonably well, but it scans at different rhythms, making it easy to stumble over while reading aloud. Stumpf’s illustrations are cute, featuring a mix of pen-and-ink and watercolors, but the combination of humanized characters and strict geometric shapes representing cheeses sometimes feels a little awkward. (Nick’s backward red cap and supertwisty tail distinguish him in the images from the cheese-loving mice—in this case, everyone else.) A final page offers an interactive opportunity for children to draw or list a food that they’re unsure about but willing to try—a challenging combination.

An easily accessible picture book that might be a good choice for parents struggling to get their children to try new foods, even if its initial setup about self-acceptance doesn’t pan out.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9969200-0-1

Page Count: 25

Publisher: Darn Write Publications

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2016

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

The Buehners retell the old familiar tale with a jump-roping, rhyme-spouting Goldilocks. When their porridge proves to be too hot to eat, the bear family goes for a stroll. Meanwhile, Goldilocks comes knocking to find a jump-roping friend. This Goldilocks does not simply test out the chairs: “Big chair, middle chair, little chair, too, / Somebody’s here to bounce on you!” And so continues the old favorite, interspersed with Goldilocks’s jump-rope verse. When she escapes through the bedroom window, none of the characters are sure what sort of creature they have just encountered. The Buehner’s homey illustrations perfectly capture the facial expressions of the characters, and lend a particular kind of mischief to Goldilocks. Readers may miss the message on the copyright page, but hidden within each picture are three creatures, instantly adding challenge and appeal. Cute, but there’s not quite enough new here to make it a must. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8037-2939-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007

ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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