HOW TO FEED YOUR PARENTS
by Ryan Miller
Illustrated by Hatem Aly
Sterling Children's Books
ages 4 to 7
Matilda Macaroni loves to try new foods, whether it’s her grandma’s jambalaya or sushi at a sleepover. But in this picture book, it’s finicky mom and dad—not the child—who eat only pizza with pepperoni (delivered), burgers from a bag, or noodles from a box. Eager to experience new flavors, Matilda secretly sets out to learn how to cook, satisfy her hunger for something more . . . and expand her parents’ palates, too.
In a flip-flop of more traditional sides, this book launches into a humorous yet clever tale which tickles the taste buds as well as the funny bone.
After eating Grandma's amazing jambalaya, Matilda loves to eat new foods. Her parents—not so much. They swear on cereal, pizza, and burgers and refuse to sway away from their favorites even for one little taste. Matilda, however, is determined to lead them to the wonders of variety and comes up with a plan.
The title already caught my attention and that of my kids. Watching Matilda dive into every new dish with excitement while her parents pulled faces guarantees a few giggles. Kids will easily set themselves into this scene and have a chance to take a look at (probably) their own finickiness with a little separation, and yet, tons of fun. And the dishes Matilda gobbles down alone raise an eyebrow. The author, of course, doesn't choose 'awful' things like cooked spinach, but heads into more exotic sounding names such as sushi, gumbo, and croquettes and, through this, attracts interest.
The illustrations are bright, hold all the required silliness, and accompany the story with finesse. The expressions on the parents' faces are a treat and invite to gazing at again and again. Diversity is key in the characters as well as the dishes...the food never appearing disgusting or bland.
Especially finicky readers will enjoy these pages. And who knows? A future cook might be born.
And here they are...
Ryan Miller has worked as a columnist , reporter, newspaper editor, online marketer, blogger and author. He lives in northern California and is available for interview. Follow him on Twitter at @jesteram and visit him online at standingintheshallows.com.
Hatem Aly is an Egyptian/born illustrator who currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada. He illustrated The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz, which won a Newbery Honor and the Sydney Taylor Book Award.