Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'd Really Like to Eat a Child by Sylviane Donnio

The blog Seven Impossible Things turned me on to Dorothee de Monfreid, picture book illustrator, a few weeks ago, and I'm glad. I took I'd Really Like to Eat a Child home to Ewan (age 6) and it was a big hit with us both.

This droll book has fun with two common picture book tropes--finicky eating and comparative sizes. Achilles is a young crocodile whose parents are trying to get him to eat a banana for breakfast. Nothing doing. Today he wants to eat a child. His parents try to talk him out of this crazy notion ("What an idea, my little Achilles!...children don't grow on banana trees, only bananas do, and that's what I have for breakfast!") and even bake him a big, yummy chocolate cake to distract him, but Achilles is steadfast. It's child or nothing.

As a stubborn, hungry Achilles wanders down to the riverfront, teeth gleaming, he spots a child! What he doesn't figure out is that this kid is about four times his size, so when he bares his teeth and goes "raah!", his intended victim playfully catches him by the tail and gives him a tickle. Coochie coochie coo! How undignified. Undeterred, Achilles escapes and decides to go eat the bananas so he can grow...and when he's big, then he will eat a child!

I love characters with ambition. Hilarious.

This book was originally published in France under the title Je mangerais bien un enfant.

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