Author: Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrator: Marla Frazee
Published: 1997, Voyager Books, Harcourt, Inc.; Singapore
Age range: 3-6
This book was recommended to me after a conversation about my picky eaters. Upon finding it in the bookstore, I was immediately charmed by its text and pictures. It quickly became a favorite in our house.
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.
Mrs. Peters has a problem. Each of her children has a particular food preference. With every new baby, Mrs. Peters’ workload increases as she attempts to keep up with the special meal requests. Finally, the seven children plot to make a special birthday breakfast for their exhausted mother. Their attempts do not work out according to plan. The result—a cake—fixes the family’s problem by creating a meal that everyone will eat.
The Seven Silly Eaters is an excellent marriage of text and illustrations. The rhyme and rhythm are spot-on. Rhyme can be very difficult to accomplish without sounding forced; this book delivers a successful example of it. The text is both fun and descriptive. It moves the story along in a wonderful way.
The illustrations in this book are among my favorites of any picture book. The personality of each child, as well as the parents, shines through in the pictures. Marla Frazee captures the daily life of a large and busy family in exceptional detail. Laundry, dishes, Mrs. Peters’ cello, the antics of the pets, both the friendship and squabbles of siblings, and the clutter—it’s all there. What’s more, the feelings and moods of each character come through loud and clear on each page. Children could spend several minutes studying each page for the clever complements that the pictures bring to the story.
The Seven Silly Eaters would be treasured in the picture book collection of any family. Girls, boys, parents, caregivers, picky eaters and not—all could find something to enjoy. While it unfortunately did not inspire my own picky eaters to expand their dietary horizons, this story could provide a starting point for a discussion about eating a wider variety of foods.