Almost ten years into life with our first-born, we are still trying to understand his curious food-related quirks. Spaghetti is a hit, as long as the tomato sauce has no chunks or visible spices, and preferably comes out of a jar labeled, “Ragu.” Pizza is acceptable as long as the edges are cut cleanly and don’t involve any “flying cheese.” Sandwiches consist of meat and bread only…condiments of any kind are right out. And the cereal bowl must be rinsed out before refilling it, as mixing cereal is strictly prohibited. Perhaps that is why I am so in love with this week’s Perfect Picture Book pick, THE SEVEN SILLY EATERS. Poor Mrs. Peters has SEVEN kids with quite particular tastes that she can’t seem to kick, and she’s still a good mom, right? RIGHT???
THE SEVEN SILLY EATERS
- Written by: Mary Ann Hoberman
- Illustrated by: Marla Frazee
- Published by: Harcourt Children’s Books, February 1, 1997, Fiction
- Suitable for: all ages
- Topics/Themes: Family, Food, Picky Eaters
“Not so long ago, they say,
A mother lived–just like today
Mrs. Peters was her name,
Her little boy was named the same.
Now Peter was a perfect son
In every way–except for one.
When Peter was just one year old,
He did not like his milk served cold.
He did not like his milk served hot.
He liked it warm…
And he would not
Drink it if he was not sure
It was the proper temperature.”
The birth of each new baby in the Peters household brings with it a new and unusual food request. Lucy only wants lemonade, Jack insists on lump-less oatmeal, and Mary Lou requires homemade bread. Mrs. Peters lovingly tries to fix their food according to their specifications, but with seven children all wanting different things, she becomes overwhelmed. When Mrs. Peters’ birthday arrives, the children try to come up with a special gift and accidentally produce a treat which becomes a family favorite for years to come…a birthday cake made from “all the foods/that kept them in such happy moods.”
- Links to Resources: Wondersome Storytime has a great post on ways to use this book for the preschool age group, including setting up a Peters Family Picnic and recipes for homemade applesauce and lemonade. Mary Ann Hoberman herself posted a much-asked-after recipe for Mrs. Peters’ birthday cake on her website. This book could definitely be a jumping-off point for conversations about good nutrition and the food groups as well.
- Why I Like this Book: I first picked this book up because I am actually one of seven children! So I love books about large families. Marla Frazee does such a beautiful job illustrating the comforting chaos of the Peters household. From the piles of laundry and kindergarten art projects, to the homemade forts and makeshift jungle gyms, to the cello gathering dust in the corner (since Mrs. Peters no longer has time to play), Ms. Frazee nails it. And the rhyme in this book is definitely an example of how to do it right. No surprise, considering Mary Ann Hoberman is our former Children’s Poet Laureate. It is perfect. Tired moms and dads will especially appreciate this book for its accurate portrayal of life with little ones, while kids will laugh at the absurdity of these childrens’ requests. Such a fun read!