cover image The Seven Silly Eaters

The Seven Silly Eaters

Mary Ann Hoberman. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200096-7

One needn't be a picky eater to revel in Hoberman's (A House Is a House for Me) deft and funny verse about a mother whose seven offspring each insist upon eating only his or her favorite food. Catering to these choosy children (who arrive in startlingly quick succession), patient Mrs. Peters squeezes an endless supply of lemons to make fresh pink lemonade for Lucy, peels apples by the peck to simmer pots of applesauce for Jack and kneads batch after batch of dough to bake ""soft and squishy"" homemade bread for Mary Lou. Since four others make similar demands on her time, it's no surprise that this kitchen-bound mother grows weary with the passing years, until a serendipitous birthday present brings her a glorious payback. The limber lines and cartoon-like animation of Frazee's (That Kookoory!) chaotically busy illustrations handily match the energy and wit of the text's quatrain couplets; the slightly subdued palette of her colored inks keeps the compositions on the right side of boisterous while also giving the story a comfortably retro feel. This talented artist sets the tale in such a cheerfully frenetic, invitingly cluttered household that kids of all culinary leanings will long to move right in, or, at the very least, visit often. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)