Can I Eat That?

Joshua David Stein, illus. by Julia Rothman. Phaidon, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7148-7140-0
In a series of linguistically playful questions and answers about food, journalist and restaurant critic Stein suggests an exchange between an insatiably curious child and a good-humored parent. “Can I eat... a potato? ... a tomato? ... a tornado?!” reads one early question. “No, you can’t eat a tornado! It’s made out of wind,” is the response, which goes on to highlight global dishes (tonnato sauce, tournedos, tostadas) that keep the freeform rhyme going. A spread revealing hidden opposites in everyday foods (“If there is... bacon is there... bacoff?”) feels giddy in its sense of linguistic discovery, and some questions are unanswerable. “Is this a faraway lime or a life-sized pea?” writes Stein opposite a tiny green dot set in the middle of a lurid pink page. A closing list of labeled objects, edible and otherwise (“pea pear bee bear mousse moose mouse juice”), reads like a poem. Throughout, Rothman (Hello NY) uses a vintage-meets-modern aesthetic to lovingly detail mismatched table settings, vats of pickles, and knobby chicken fingers, adding greatly to the book’s smarts-plus-style approach. Ideal for the Lucky Peach crowd. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Nathaniel Jacks, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/22/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 40 pages - 978-0-7148-7110-3
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