Friday, May 22, 2009

The Seven Silly Eaters: a review


The Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman, illus. by Marlee Frazee, is a delight. It is a rhymed and metrical look at the life of a young couple as they have children, each of whom only eats one thing. The mother, Mrs. Peters, works very hard to fill all of the picky requests of her seven silly eaters. We see her picking apples, making bread, straining orange juice, cooking eggs just so, and doing whatever she needs to do so her family will thrive. The children don't appreciate it enough, until the surprising happy ending.

The text is fun and memorable, allowing the reader to repeat it nearly from memory after a few times. But the real charm of the book is in the illustrations, which capture perfectly the ordered chaos of a large family, a house that is cherished but not too clean, with books and toys underfoot and children draped over every surface. My children like to pause over the pictures to see things they haven't noticed before. Little details support the story, such as the cello that the mother plays is retired to a corner of the house, recalling the sacrifices of individual interests that one has to make as a parent.

It's always one of my favorites to read at bedtime, especially after a difficult day homeschooling, when I feel rather sympathetic to the put-upon, but ultimately beloved, Mrs. Peters.