Thursday, July 29, 2010
A Reverse Psychology Picture Book
How many of us can empathize with frustrated Mama Pea who can’t get her Little Pea to finish his dinner before he has dessert? I became a fan of Amy K. Rosenthal recently, and was happy to find her humorous take on mealtime battles at our library.
There are any number of reasons B claims to be finished with dinner before he’s had much of a meal: others getting up from the table, a visitor’s arrival, a toy or activity calling his name, hopes for a few more baskets to score before the sun goes down, or the prospect of a tempting dessert on the horizon. We’ve never tried to enforce a “clean-plate” policy because we want B to respond to his own cues for hunger and fullness, and in general he is a healthy and adventurous eater. If he wants to give up on his meal before it seems like he’s eaten a healthy amount, I’ll usually keep it aside and see if he’s hungry again in a short time. When there is a treat ahead, I may give him a minimum to finish to be “strong and healthy” before he gets the goodies. That’s when I find myself sounding like Mama Pea.
Making the Frustrating Funny
Little Pea is the story of a young pea who enjoys many activities with his parents but does not enjoy dinner: candy. Mama Pea issues an edict – he must eat five pieces. Each bite is accompanied by a exclamation such as, “Blech!” The first time we read it, B was a little incredulous that anyone, even a pea, could dislike eating candy for dinner. What scrumptious treat does Little Pea receive after finishing his five bites? Tasty spinach! Yum! Did B close the book and ask for a bowl of spinach? No, but I appreciated the cognitive dissonance it created for him. It gave us a chance to talk about both what’s healthy for our bodies and why it’s important to listen to mom and dad’s directions. Amy K. has two other satirical stories: Little Hoot (an owl who won’t stay up late) and Little Oink (a pig who won’t get dirty). We’ve already put in our requests for those at the library.
Appropriate for: Toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades.
Linking up with: Feed Me Books Friday at Gretchen Reads 24/7