I'd Really Like to Eat a Child

I’d Really Like to Eat a Child by Sylviane Donnio, illustrated by Dorothee de Monfreid.

Achilles is a little crocodile with a big appetite, for children.  His mother brings him bananas to eat, but he really would rather have a child.  His father tries to tempt him with a huge sausage, but Achilles is having none of it.  They both make him an enormous chocolate cake, but Achilles cannot be turned away from his taste for a child.  Then Achilles finally sees a child by the river!  He creeps up, sharp teeth and all, but the child is not scared and calls him “cute” and “scrawny.”  She grabs him, tickles him and throws him in the river.  So Achilles runs home, calling for food so that he can eventually grow large enough to eat a child.

What a treat!  A book whose very title will have children gasping and surprised.  Then the ending where the girl is not threatened at all by the crocodile is marvelous.  It is pure fun from start to finish. 

Share this one in units about nutrition and eating, just for a fun break.  Or add it to your crocodile storytime for preschoolers.  I guarantee children listening to every word after you just read the title alone.

Hiromi's Hands

Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch.

Told from the point of view of Hiromi, this picture book explains how her father became a sushi chef in  Japan after years and years of training.  He then moved to New York and eventually opened his own sushi restaurant.  Hiromi grew up respecting Japanese traditions, but quickly became fascinated with her father’s work.  She became his apprentice, despite the fact that traditionally girls are not allowed to work with sushi.  Her true story of hard work, determination and respect for tradition is inspiring.

I really enjoyed this picture book.  It is paced perfectly for reading aloud and children will be fascinated by the long years of work that it takes to make sushi.  The illustrations are simple but compelling, showing the varieties of fish and sushi and demonstrating the pride with which they are created.

In fact, you may find yourself with children’ interested in actually trying sushi for the first time!