I have written before about children’s books on food, nutrition, and cooking, and I came to the conclusion buy modafinil that neutral themes are best. By that I mean books that do not judge the way someone eats, or lecture, or imply that “good” children eat their meals.
Often in kids’ books about picky eating, characters are praised when they eat and criticized when they don’t. I believe that sends the wrong message. Kids are born knowing how to eat until they are full, and then stop: a skill many adults would love to have. Telling kids what to eat, and how much, teaches kids to “unlearn” their natural ability to listen to their bodies.
Today I am reviewing two more kids books with cooking or food themes.
Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly, by Carolyn Parkhurst and Dan Yaccarino
This book is about a 5-year-old boy, Henry, and his 2-year-old sister, Eleanor, a.k.a. Elliebelly, who pretend that they are the hosts of a cooking show called “Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly.” The two children pretend to make raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles and barbecued banana bacon, and have some misadventures. As Henry puts ingredients in a bowl, he explains his actions to his imaginary audience. For example:
“We start with about seventeen cups of imported flour from Kansas, and mix it in a bowl with two jars of peanut butter and twelve duck eggs.”
Throughout the book, there are many funny interjections from 2-year old Elliebelly, who wants to help her big brother and enthusiastically gets her dolls involved.
When Henry and Elliebelly finish “cooking”, they pretend to eat their finished product.
I love this funny and sweet book, and so do both my kids. I enjoy the characters using imaginative play in cooking, and I appreciate that there is no preaching about “good” and “bad” foods.
I do not Eat the Colour Green!, by Lynne Rickards and Margaret Chamberlain
The main character of this book, Marlene McKean, is a cute little red-haired girl who eats many things, but nothing green. She tells readers:
“I am a nearly perfect child, not too quiet, not too wild, rarely messy, never bold, I mostly do the things I’m told.”
Marlene goes on to say that she does not eat the colour green, at home, at parties, or at school. She lists other foods that she does eat, and tells how not eating green causes her trouble with her parents and others. Towards the end of the book, Marlene is invited to a fancy tea party with the Countess Jean. The Countess offers Marlene a green grape, and since Marlene does not want to be rude to a countess, she eats it and discovers that she likes it after all.
Although this book is cute, and it’s got wonderful artwork, I feel that it falls into the common trap of regarding eating as a disciplinary issue. Here is one paragraph that exemplifies this view:
“My Mum and Dad try lots of tricks to make me eat my celery sticks. They promise Toyworld shopping sprees if only I will eat my peas. And other times, they scream and shout when I refuse to try a sprout.”
The problem I have with this is that it goes against the division of responsibility in feeding to use bribery, threats, or other methods to make a child eat something she doesn’t want. And at the end when Marlene discovers that she likes green grapes, the story implies that if a child tries a food once, she will love it, when in reality is often takes many tastes to learn to like a food.
This book aims to show kids that they should eat their greens and try new foods, because they might like them even if they think they won’t. While I appreciate the thought behind it, I don’t feel it’s the best way to teach kids to eat well. It is important to allow a child to go at her own pace, rather than pushing too hard.