cover image If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant

If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant

Ellen Fischer, illus. by Laura Wood. Scarletta Kids (PGW, dist.), $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-938063-39-8

While the title may suggest the freewheeling and unlikely chains of events of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and its ilk, Fischer and Wood actually have the opposite idea in mind. One by one, Fischer asks what nine animals might order at their local neighborhood restaurants: “If a sea turtle crawled into a lagoon buffet, what would he order? Fried chicken with gravy?” The replies are resounding (“No sir!”), followed by explanations of what the animals actually like to eat (in the case of the sea turtle, it’s “Crabs and shrimp with a jellyfish on top”). Fischer’s playful tone and Wood’s humorous cartoons are an enjoyable combination, though the project as a whole is an odd mix of whimsy and fact. While Fischer makes it clear that a butterfly is more interested in lilac nectar than oatmeal, for example, the accompanying illustration shows the insect sipping the former through a bendy straw. While fun, the animals’ anthropomorphic tendencies (“Eight forks, please” for the octopus) can seem at odds with the semi-serious aims of the text. Up to age 7. (July)