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Sugar Would Not Eat It Hardcover – May 12, 2009

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3—The day after his birthday, Leo finds a stray kitten, takes her home, and names her Sugar. Although he does not know anything about felines, they get on well. But when Leo tries to feed Sugar leftover cake, she won't eat it. He seeks the expertise of various adult friends, who all offer advice that sounds not unlike the threats parents issue to their own fussy eaters. The boy cajoles, bargains, and warns, but the kitten will not eat the cake. It is hard not to question why Leo's mother, who observes her son's efforts from the sidelines, doesn't simply take him to the library for a book about pet care and put an end to the agony. Finally, he stumbles upon the appropriate food for Sugar and is optimistic about their future together. And then he decides to give the kitten a bath. While not exactly offering wisdom, this gently humorous book gives readers an empathetic link between themselves and tiny Sugar. Potter's distinctive illustrations, done in pencil, ink, gouache, gesso, and watercolor, incorporate plenty of color, with the repeated image of the blue-gray kitten dwarfed atop a dramatically red kitchen table establishing the premise of a small being facing down a larger entity.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
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From Booklist

Jenkins (Toys Go Out, 2006) tells a story of a kitten who refuses to eat in this breezy picture book. Leo finds a kitten sitting on his front steps one day. He names her Sugar, but when he tries to feed her a slice of leftover birthday cake the kitten will have none of it. Leo goes around to various people in the neighborhood, each of whom offers advice culled from their youth when they didn’t want to eat something. Potter’s signature folk-naïf artwork fits the tone well, particularly in the way Sugar sits on the table, calmly and resolutely regarding Leo as he pleads, commands, and bargains with her before arriving at an amenable resolution. Anyone who’s ever tried to get a cat to do something it doesn’t care to do will immediately sympathize with Leo’s frustration, and while the point is for kids to recognize themselves in the kitten’s stubbornness, that might be a little too subtle. Messages aside, feline admirers will come away from this fully charmed. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836039
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,388,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write stories for children and adults. Picture books, middle-grade books, and novels. And a long time ago, personal essays.

I can be reached online at www.emilyjenkins.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon customer on June 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
If your kid asks why don't the adults know that cats don't eat cakes, that would have made a great discussion point for this book. We don't know what Leo has gone off and told those people. The story only tells us what wisdom were imparted on Leo. Leo could have just opened his mouth and said "My kitty wouldn't eat her food..." and the adults could have jumped to all kinds of conclusions and doled out advises. That was many times the case with advises dispensed by people to bewildered new parents. People are often very eager to share their wisdom without asking and listening to what the seekers are really asking. The fact that they showed up to lend moral support to Leo when he did his final show down with Sugar drives home the point that these people were so fixated in their belief of their own wisdom, they did not even take a look at what's involved. And then they got bored and went home - they didn't care.

At this point you might take issues with what kind of terrible world is this book impressing on children, which is a valid point and might ultimately break or make the deal for you. To my daughter, the adult characters didn't interest her, instead, she rallied behind Sugar even though she herself is a very adventurous and easy eater. We had a good time laughing whenever the line "But Sugar would not eat it" comes up. My daughter sees herself in Sugar's refusal to budge when forced to do something which doesn't make sense to her.
I have a 16 years old very healthy cat, by the way, and we take good care of him. He's the opposite of Sugar, because he would eat anything including inedible thing. We had to spend a lot of time protecting him from himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Danielle on February 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is literally about a boy trying to force a kitten to eat chocolate cake. He tries everything, especially yelling at the kitten for most of the book. EAT IT!! EAT IT! EAT IT! Yeah, not fun to read, right? Not only is the premise ridiculous, and I agree with the other reviewer that pretty much anyone above the age of 3 would know that kittens don't eat chocolate cake, but the combination of the "yelling" storyline and the illustrator's accurate portrayal of a stressed out cat I found this book to be unreadable. Whatever underlying message the authors intended here is completely lost in translation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. walters on January 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm sorry, I know it's a sweet innocent children's book, but even my five year old cant get past the fact that not only the child in the book but all of the many adults don't know that a cat won't eat cake! It made the book less entertaining because my kids were yelling "DOESNT THAT GROWN UP KNOW CATS EAT CAT FOOD?" ;). And they really didn't like the fact that he screams repeatedly at this poor animal, while starving the poor thing. A bit too ridiculous to swallow, so to speak.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cody M Johnson on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have a unique point of view on this wonderful tale.

When my daughter was a baby, she refused to eat. So much so that she required a feeding tube--our last resort after insane amounts of over-the-top effort with nursing and bottle feeding. While she had the tube, our focus was to fix the source of her pain and discomfort and encourage her to embrace the joy of eating--of her own accord. We were successful, after much yelling and even tossing of bottles. The key to her recovery was my willingness to finally let go and stop forcing things. To honor my baby's cues and individual needs!

So let's just say that I identify with Leo. The story rang true in ways you can't imagine. If you ask me, for those who look past the surface, there is a huge lesson in this book.

Some people are up in arms because--gasp!--Leo offered Sugar chocolate and eventually wanted to give her a bath. (Both with the best of intentions.) Get over it! Life and learning are often messy! Let's not sterilize children's literature, please. Anyone who reads this book will walk away knowing that cats don't eat chocolate. Sugar makes that clear. The cat knew what she needed, and eventually Leo realized this. At one point, Leo wonders, "How were they going to live together when she wouldn't listen to him and she wouldn't learn?" This is my favorite line, because it was Leo who wasn't listening and learning.

It sounds crazy, but he reminds me of myself in those early weeks of motherhood! I thought I knew what was best. I tried force my baby to eat, out of desperation, simply because I loved her so much and wanted her to grow and thrive. I had to pay attention to what she was telling me. Only then was she able to eat and be healthy and happy.

Our own stubbornness can blind us.
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By Catherine W. Hughes on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When Leo celebrates his birthday with family and friends, a piece of birthday cake remains. The next day, on the way to soccer, Leo finds a fluffy, white cat. He brings her home and calls her "Sugar." Sugar plays and naps, but she won't eat the leftover piece of chocolate cake. All over the neighborhood, Leo tells his friends about Sugar and the piece of cake. Leo's friends reminisce about foods they refused to eat when they were little, and what their parents did to make them eat. But, still, Sugar won't eat the piece of cake. Finally, after trying and trying, Leo bursts into tears and pours some milk and makes a chicken sandwich. Quick as can be, Sugar jumps to the counter and laps up the milk and eats some of the chicken sandwich. Leo eats the last piece of cake. The next day he buys some cat food and gives Sugar a bath. Fluffy, white Sugar and the piece of cake will appeal to children ages 4-7, as a good read, again and again.
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