Wordplay and food play combine as an artist and a food critic explore edibles well beyond peanut butter and jelly.
Actually, jelly (or jam) does put in a couple of appearances—notably toward the end, following Stein’s observation that some eggs become chickens and some become breakfast. Before that though, he answers variations on the titular question, such as: “Can I eat… / …a potato? / …a tomato? / …a tornado?!” No, not a tornado, but “tonnato, a sauce from Italy made with tuna,” and likewise “tournedos” and also “tostada.” Interspersed with general foolery (“If there is…ketchup / is there…ketchdown?”), he goes on to solve the mysteries of pickles, eggplant, and chicken fingers, then closes with a rollicking illustrated list of “Can I Eat?” posers: “pineapple / pinecone / telephone / panettone / pony / cannoli,” etc., on the final page. Aside from one scene of human hands of diverse gender and skin color reaching for said pickles, Rothman focuses on edibles and tableware, and though the individual ingredients in the tostada, the jellyfish platter, and the bowl of uni donburi are hard to distinguish, in general her cleanly drawn and colored meats, veggies, and condiments are both easily recognizable and yummy looking.
Tempting fare for venturesome children, with a few tidbits for hipster parents who spend more time in restaurants than kitchens or farmers markets. (Informational picture book. 5-7)