cover image Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli

Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli

Barbara Jean Hicks, , illus. by Sue Hendra. . Knopf, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-375-85686-0

“Fum, foe, fie, fee, monsters don't eat broccoli!” With a toe-tapping beat and loud, splashy spreads, this paean to mealtime chaos will charm small monsters everywhere. The monsters in Hendra's paintings are lumpy, friendly-looking things who stomp through cities and forests, refusing broccoli in favor of more appetizing fare: “We'd rather snack on tractors/ or a rocket ship or two,/ or tender trailer tidbits,/ or a wheely, steely stew.” They roam through a monster grocery store past shelves of multicolored construction vehicles (“3 for 2 tractors”) and skyscrapers; in another scene they perch on cliffs while fishing for boats (“we crave our fish 'n' ships”). In the final spreads, two picnicking monsters (one striped, the other with polka dots) are revealed to be a pair of children, munching not on maple trees but on—wait for it—broccoli florets (“And WOW are they delicious!/ Another helping, please”). Hicks's (The Secret Life of Walter Kitty ) message about healthy eating comes off comic, not preachy. Too much fun to limit to kids who don't like broccoli. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)