cover image Little Pea

Little Pea

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, ., illus. by Jen Corace . Chronicle, $12.95 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-4658-5

Peas, the oft-reviled legumes that can make dinnertime a battle, take center plate in Rosenthal's (Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life , for adults) silly picture book about food choices—and picky eaters—turned topsy-turvy. Little Pea enjoys an ordinary life with his parents and pea pals playing, reading stories and getting lovingly tucked into bed. But the one thing Little Pea has trouble with is candy, the icky entrée that his parents insist he eat for dinner each night. As Mama and Papa Pea say, "If you want to grow up to be a big strong pea" or have dessert, candy must be eaten. Once Little Pea whines through his required five-piece serving of sweets, he's happy to top off his torture with a special treat—spinach! Young readers will take glee in Little Pea's absurd yet familiar predicament, while parents will surely identify with Mama and Papa Pea's universal struggle. Newcomer Corace's warmhearted ink-and-watercolor paintings plays up the most of ample white space, which plays up the vibrant greenness of the Pea family. Images of tiny, bouncing peas playing hopscotch, and Papa Pea flipping his boy off the end of a spoon are especially memorable. Kids are likely to view their veggies with new eyes when mealtime rolls around. Ages 3-up. (May)