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Everyone Eats
by Julia Kuo
AGES: 0 - 3
PAGES: 22
SIZE: 7 x 7
RIGHTS: World
PRICES: $9.95 US, $9.95 Cdn
HARDCOVER: 9781897476741

New York Times - Looking very contemporary in an old-time way, the visually striking “Everyone Eats!” feels like the kind of book you’d pick up at an organic children’s clothing store. Simple sentences (“Rabbits eat carrots,” “Bears eat honey,” etc.) are paired with charming painted-on-wood – or digitally drawn to look that way – illustrations. Touches of wit and hints at magic permeate what is otherwise a straightforward guide to healthful eating. A foursome of bright pink pigs forage for red polka-dotted toadstools that look like something out of an enchanted forest. On the opposite page, a plate of mushroom-topped pasta is accompanied by a can of mushroom soup and the simple phrase, “Pigs eat mushrooms.” A horse sniffs at red apples growing from a blue-tinged tree. It’s better than hay.

 


"A simple board-book catalog of the foods eaten by both animals and
humans. Each spread features an animal eating a favorite item on one side, a sentence
explaining this in a blocky font on the other, and an image of how people
prepare and eat this foodstuff hovering above the text. For example, in one
illustration, a bear climbs a tree toward a beehive. This picture is paired
with the simple sentence: "Bears eat honey." Above this phrase is a spot image
of a Winnie-the-Pooh–like honey pot and a honey dipper. The last spread
features a young girl, who appears on the cover and on one previous interior
page, eating all the foods mentioned previously while her animal co-stars look
longingly at the repast. Some of the animal food/human food connections may be
a little abstract for youngsters ("Mice eat seeds" is paired with an image of
seed-encrusted crackers), but the spare text will hopefully encourage adult
readers to fill in the blanks for their youngsters. Kuo, a talent to watch,
paints on blond wood, and this adds a natural warmth to her appealingly dainty
animals and landscapes.
Although slightly too abstract in concept in some instances, the art is a feast
for the eyes. (Board book. 2-4)" - Kirkus

CM review:

Some parents have few, if any, problems in getting their children to try new foods and tastes as the children transition from mushy baby foods to more “adult” solid foods. Unfortunately, other parents are not so lucky, and their food introductions can be met by tightly closed-mouthed responses, spit-ups, tantrums, and the contents of dishes being dumped on the floor. It is this latter group of parents (and their youngsters) that Kuo addresses in Everyone Eats.

     Via 10 pairs of facing pages, Kuo introduces 10 animals and, with each one, a food that the animal could/would eat in the wild (though, in a few cases, the “wild” would likely require the animal to have to raid a garden). Design-wise, one page carries a full-page, colour illustration rendered in a cartoonish style while the other page has the three word text. Also found on the text page is an illustration of how the child might meet the animal’s raw food in a dish prepared for her/him. Consequently, the pigs’ mushrooms adorn a plate of spaghetti and are also found in a can of soup while the horses’ apples appear as apple slices and as an apple juice box. Care is taken with the “Squirrels eat nuts” page to show a jar of “Almond Butter” (not peanuts). The single text words that name the food are rendered in a colour appropriate to the food, i.e., green lettuce, yellow honey (though I’m hard-pressed to think of a pink seed, especially one eaten by mice). The closing eleventh pair of facing pages finds a smiling girl sitting at a table while acknowledging that “I eat [all these foods] too." 

     With perhaps the exception of seaweed, the other nine foods are likely something that “everyone eats” at some point during a year, if perhaps only seasonally. Whether the contents of Everyone Eats will transform a picky child’s eating habits remains to be seen, but giving “Let’s be a duck and [quack, quack] eat our corn” or “Let’s be a pig and [oink, oink] eat our mushrooms” a try can’t be any worse than some of the things we presently utilize while introducing new food tastes and textures.