Moore lampoons school lunches in this early-reader series outing.
Both Freckleface Strawberry and her heavy friend Windy Pants Patrick (readers may well wonder about his name, as he is wearing shorts) love to eat. They love hot dogs, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, chicken fingers, and noodles. But neither especially likes to eat school lunches. One day, Freckleface sits down with an especially interesting-looking lunch consisting of a bowl of green noodles. In an unfunny schtick that’s repeated too many times, one by one three friends ask her what it is. “That is lunch.” “But what is it?” “I do not know.” Finally, after a teacher shushes them for yelling instead of eating, Freckleface digs in. And though she still may not know what lunch is, she does know that she likes it. Moore’s characters lack personality, though at least classmate Noah has a trait—yelling instead of talking—that makes him stand out from the others. And though the subject is near and dear to readers’ hearts, this treatment can’t hold a candle to the likes of True Kelley’s School Lunch (2005). Pham’s illustrations portray Freckleface, Windy Pants, and Noah as starkly white; Southeast Asian Winnie is Freckleface’s only friend of color. There are two other brown girls in the cafeteria, but they have no interactions with the main characters.
New readers deserve better. (Early reader. 4-7)