NO MORE VEGETABLES!
Nicole Rubel, . . FSG, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-36362-8
Ruthie hates eating vegetables so much she's even inspired to compose an ode: "Give me a yucky carrot,/ I'll feed it to the parrot./ Offer me slimy beets,/ I'll stomp them with my feets." But when her mother puts Ruthie to work in the vegetable garden, the girl discovers not only a talent for cultivation, but a palate for produce as well. Rubel (illustrator of the Rotten Ralph books) offers few insights or comedic twists in taking on this familiar food-a-phobia theme—although her tight prose gets across both Ruthie's gustatory intransigency and the wit's-end frustration of everyone who shares her dinner table. The meticulously outlined, highly stylized watercolor and ink pictures are the real draw. The sloe-eyed characters, flattened perspectives and intensely hued interiors brim with the cheeky, quirky details that Rubel's fans expect, as in the set of fish-shaped canisters in the kitchen or the offbeat fabrics of the characters' clothes (and canine fans will enjoy spotting Ruthie's pooch in every illustration—even at school). The irreverent visuals turn a familiar tale into a piquant little offering. Ages 4-8.
Reviewed on: 07/01/2002