Joshua David Stein (text), Julia Rothman (illus.), Can I Eat That? Phaidon/Penguin, 15 Feb 2016, 40pp., $22.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780714871103
This playful book entices children to experiment with food choices by piquing their curiosity. It asks questions and sometimes provides answers, and at other times the questions are more philosophical, acting as discussion starters like ‘is this [picture]a faraway lime or a life-sized pea?‘
Written by New York food critic Joshua David Stein Can I Eat That? raises conundrums like ‘Can we go pickle picking some time?‘ and ‘Do eggs grow on eggplants?‘ as well as engaging in humorous word-play ‘If there is KetchUP is there KetchDown?‘ This latter example alludes to the book’s US origins.
The offbeat questions and quirky retro styled illustrations in striking, bold colours make a pretty ‘cool’ book – perfect for a generation of parents who are hooked on Masterchef and want to share the love of food with their children. My 21 year old daughter thought it was the best book I’ve reviewed yet!
Can I Eat That? Is a non-fiction picture book that is delightfully engaging and will have children laughing, thinking, being amazed and thrusting the book in your face to ask – ‘lime or pea?’ Targeted at ages three to five but the quirky humour will be appreciated by a broader audience. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Debra Tidball