Parents have been known to employ myriad tricks to get their infants to eat, but author Benoit Marchon’s new board book Spoonful! may make those tricks a thing of the past.

On page one of Spoonful! a very hungry baby is instructed to “open wide.” The baby can see a table with an interesting assortment of food, an outline of the parent’s head, and an outline of the baby’s head—complete with gaping mouth—ready to gulp down the food.

From there, each flip of the page reveals a hungry character with a gaping mouth ready to eat a spoonful of the baby’s food. On the first few pages, the characters are familiar members of the family, but as the book wears on, there are silly figures standing with mouths open, just begging to eat. There’s an astronaut, a fly on the wall, a worm in the dirt, and even a dinosaur.

Spoonful! is a fun board book full of rich colors and interesting, hungry characters. It is written with one simple theme in mind: “Everyone else is eating, so why shouldn’t baby eat, too?”

It is also constructed with a unique twist: Each page has a cut-away outline of the baby’s head and open mouth. The characters on each page wear different clothes or are featured in different settings (e.g., daddy rides in a car, the fly flutters in the air, and the astronaut floats in space), yet the outline of the baby’s little round head and gaping mouth always replaces each character’s head. Even the worm protruding from a potted plant’s dirt is topped off by . . . you guessed it, the baby’s head.

Aside from this relentless subliminal message—that it is baby who is hungry and baby who should be eating—these diverse and seemingly random pictures actually help baby to identify who/what each character is (daddy, mommy, astronaut), what each character does (mommy plants flowers, firefighters fight fires), and where each character may be found (worms like dirt, fish swim in fishbowls).

Best wishes and happy meal time,

Rita Lorraine

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I am a former special education teacher, and am currently a full-time children's writer, book blogger and freelance editor. I earned the 2014 SCBWI Letter of Merit for an unpublished multicultural novel; I am Lee and Low Publishers 2012 New Voices Award Winner. I am the author of Getting a Job in the Food Industry, Getting the Most Out of MOOCs, and The Right Health Care Degree for Me, all published by Rosen Publishing, and Playwriting, published by Cavendish Square in January, 2017. My first picture book, Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story (Lee and Low) will debut in 2018. My second picture book, The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read (Random House) will debut in 2019. I penned African Americans of Chattanooga: A History of Unsung Heroes, and I review books for The New York Journal of Books. Thanks for visiting!


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