Monday, March 16, 2009

Modern Monday -- I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

Lauren Child, Candlewick Press, 2000

Meet Charlie and his little sister Lola. Sometimes Charlie must give Lola her dinner which can be tricky because she is a very fussy eater. With a little creativity, his problem is solved. Charlie uses what I've long believed to be the secret to babysitting--imagination. Children love the surprise and wonder involved in taking the everyday and ordinary and transforming those mundane moments into something extraordinary. In this case, Charlie and Lola revise their understanding of common dinner foods.

The story begins with Lola reminding Charlie of all the foods she just will not eat:

"Lola won't eat carrots, of course.
She says carrots are for rabbits.
I say, "What about peas?"
Lola says, "Peas are too small and too green."

Hmmmm... hard to argue with that. In addition to carrots and peas, Lola would happily pass on potatoes, mushrooms, spaghetti, eggs, sausages, cauliflower, cabbage, baked beans, bananas, oranges, apples, rice, cheese, and fish sticks and of course, she'll NEVER eat tomatoes. It's as if she's anticipating every last item in the cupboard that Charlie might offer her.

Charlie assures her that they have none of those things and those orange things that look like carrots? No, they're not carrots... they are twiglets from Jupiter. And the green things that look like peas? (love the animorphic pea in the middle!)

Well, those aren't peas.

"They are greendrops from Greenland.
They are made of green and fall from the sky."

Lauren Child's fantastic illustration style is what initially drew me to this book and her Clarice Bean books too. I love the collage technique--how she incorporates photographic images, fabrics, and all sorts of mixed media into each illustration. I love how she draws Lola and then cuts her out and uses her as a collage piece on a larger "canvas." It's childlike and sophisticated and original and cool. (You can see why I am not an art critic...) And I love her color choices too!

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