Author and Illustrator: Josh Schneider
Publisher: Clarion Books, 2011
Genre: Chilren’s Fiction
Award Won: Geisel Award for Early Readers, 2012
My Rating: B+
One of the most important things about learning to read is having books that are super enjoyable. Books for early readers are usually best if they make the child laugh or fire their imaginations. It sends such a positive message about reading.
My seven-year-old granddaughter is now reading what she calls “chapter books.” She loves them! They make her feel like she’s one of the big kids. And, like most seven-year-olds, my granddaughter loves to laugh at silly jokes. I was so happy to discover Josh Schneider’s Tales For Very Picky Eaters and also glad it won one of this year’s top prizes.
The book is silly enough to make both granddaughter and her nana laugh and giggle. Here’s a summary of the story from the publisher:
Each of the five chapters in “Tales for Very Picky Eaters” recounts James’ refusal to eat yet another disgusting, smelly, repulsive, lumpy or slimy food. Not only picky eaters, but all readers will delight in the outrageous suggestions along with the off the wall rationale from his very clever dad for why he should become more adventurous in his food selections. James turns the table on his father when he decides to become more daring and bold in his meal choices and actually tries something new.
Let me share the first paragraph of the first chapter with you so you can get an idea of the reading level:
I can’t eat broccoli,” said James. “It’s disgusting!”
“Maybe there’s something else you can eat,” suggested James’s father.
“What else is there?” ask James.
Now this is where the stories get fun. James’ father offers James the finest dirt available anywhere. It is specially prepared and served directly on the most spectacular floor. When James says “Ugh” his dad offers him another delicacy: the very fine gum that has been chewed 1000 times by children with very clean teeth. James is also offered some very smelly socks. As you can imagine james finally decides that maybe the broccoli isn’t quite so bad.
The other four chapters in this book are The Tale of Those Smelly Lasagna, The Repulsive Milk, and A Slimy Egg. They are just as silly as the first chapter. The illustrations add a lot to the story. They remind me of cartoons with nice bright colors.
Geisel Award Committee Chair, Carole D. Fiore, had this to say about the book: “The dialogue presents some preposterous situations but even the most challenging words are presented in context so beginning readers can easily discern their meaning. The touches of humor make this book an engaging page turner.”
If you are one of those lucky persons who has a beginning reader in your life, I recommend Tales for Very Picky Eaters.
About the Author: (from the back of the book)
Josh Schneider’s first book for Clarion, You’ll Be Sorry, was named “Book That Provides Best Ammunition to Parents Weary of Warning Their Kids About Socking Their Siblings” by Publishers Weekly magazine. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
About the Award:
The Geisel Award is one of the children’s book awards given by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the prestigious American Library Association. It’s named in honor of our beloved Theodore Geisel who has also given millions of young readers a life-long love of books. It’s given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year. Visit their website here: Geisel Award