From School Library Journal
Grade 2–5—This hilarious collection of poems about food stretches the imagination and vocabulary. Young picky eaters are confronted in the title poem with the possibility that "If cotton candy, apple pie,/And French fries looked at you/And said, 'Gross! Blecchh! Nope, I won't try./I'll never like it. Ew!'" kids would say, "'Hey! That's no fair!/Give me a chance!'" Varying in length and form (four lines to a sonnet to a two-page poem), the poetry is fresh, funny, and challenging, including words like "pernicious," "prehensile," "unminced," and "blanched." Full-color and sometimes delightfully bizarre mixed-media illustrations offer clever asides ("Nuts!" declares a nut, and "Pea brain" announces a pea), goofy perspectives (from inside a mouth, for example), and amusing visual scenarios. In "Mom," readers might laugh out loud at the re-created scene from Goodnight, Moon, this one featuring praying mantids: "I ate your father. Yes, it's true./That's what we praying mantids do./His last words to me were 'Adieu./If only I could eat you, too.'" This is a winner that kids will love.—Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
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Some of the most memorable poems in Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974) centered upon food—who doesn’t remember Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout and her leaning tower of trash? Weinstock borrows the food theme as well as Silverstein’s tone and cooks up 19 poems about the stuff we shove into our mouths (the table of contents literally places the poem titles inside a stomach). The stanzas, which vary from short- to medium-length, are mischievous and clever (sweet-flavored meats is rhymed with meat-flavored sweets). The titular centerpiece poem imagines a world in which food hates us, too: “That Trudys gross out rainbow trout, / And Rachels skeeve out schmaltz? / That Tommys make pastramis pout, / And sardines cringe at Walts?” The art also follows the Silverstein mold, eschewing cute drawings in favor of grotesque, ghastly, or disconcerting representations of children and animals. There’s a prevailing sinister undercurrent (the poem “Mom” begins with the line “I ate your father”), but that will likely only add to its appeal. Grades 1-3. --Daniel Kraus
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