CAN YOU EAT? by Joshua David Stein


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Age Range: 3 - 5
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This toddler’s guide to things we eat may raise some difficult questions.

Author and food critic Stein adapted this book from a selection from his earlier collaboration with Rothman, Can I Eat That? (2016), a book chock-full of puns, jokes, and silly food facts. The focus of this volume is narrower, confined entirely to the title question, which could lead to some awkward conversations with toddlers. Sandwiched within these pages are several fruits, vegetables, delicious desserts, bugs, some underpants, and several cute wild animals. “Can you eat… // a pea? / A pear? // A bee? A bear? // Chocolate mousse? Alaskan moose? A mouse? // Juice? / Goose? Grouse?” If toddlers haven’t yet made the connection between Bossie the cow and the neatly wrapped hamburger at the supermarket, this book could force caregivers into the uncomfortable position of having to explain humankind’s relationship to meat. Almost every creature so beautifully and expressively pictured herein can be and has been on the menu somewhere in the world, whether elephant, antelope, or ant…even the nearly human-seeming, friendly, smiling ape. If toddlers insist one can’t eat a moose, ought one to correct them? Is there a loss of innocence that comes with learning that most people are part-time carnivores and that many of the animals we admire in the wild lots of us also welcome on our plates?

Lovely illustrations and whimsical wordplay—but full of snares for the unwary. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 8th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-7148-7882-9
Page count: 30pp
Publisher: Phaidon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2019


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