I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
by Lauren Child
Topics: fussy eaters, food, siblings
Charlie’s little sister Lola is a mighty fussy eater. While waiting for dinner, Lola lists all the foods she doesn’t like and won’t consider eating. So Charlie has to come up with some inventive ideas to make familiar foods seem more appetizing: “Oh, this isn’t mashed potato…this is cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji.” and “These are not carrots. These are orange twiglets from Jupiter.” The mixed media illustrations are fascinating and effective at creating a bright, familiar and very modern child’s world for the flat, line drawn characters. Child creates collages of line drawings, photographs, and wallpaper that really work together - a photo of a bowl of peas being prodded by Lola’s drawn hand, photo tiles on the back of the otherwise drawn kitchen. The text layout is also interestingly varied, with bolds, capitalization, different font sizes and layouts that mirror the illustrations (the text forms a mountain for the Mount Fuji text).
In addition to the entertaining approach to picky eating, this book will also help build a child’s food vocabulary. There’s a nice combination of predictability (Lola’s questioning each food item) and surprise (Charlie’s clever recharacterizations) which will make this appealing to younger children. The layout of the text and illustrations also encourages new readers to practice their sight –reading skills (“I don’t ever eat carrots” is written on five carrots, text is frequently widely spaced making it easier to read.). The relationship between the feisty Lola and the understanding Charlie is a unusual in that it is warm and trusting and shows children solving problems by using their imagination.
Lauren Child won the Kate Greenaway Medal (the British equivalent of the Caldecott) for this book. She has written several more Charlie and Lola books including I Am Too Absolutely Small for School and I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed. Child is also the creator of the Clarice Bean books.
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