________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 18 . . . . January 15, 2010



Marthe Jocelyn. Illustrated by Tom Slaughter.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2007/2010.
14 pp., board, $9.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-988-7.

Subject Heading:
Animals-Food-Juvenile literature.

Preschool / Ages 1-3.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

***½ /4


rat      cheese

dog      bone


If the cover of this book seems familiar to you, that's because you first saw it a couple of years ago when the Jocelyn and Slaughter duo produced it as a "regular" picture book. Given the original book's brief text and the illustrations' simplicity and bright colours, I actually think Eats works much better as a board book since the fingers of very young "readers" will be more able to cope with this format's thicker pages. Turning a page of Eats will no longer carry with it the risk of a child's tearing that page.

internal art

     Not only have the physical dimensions of the original volume been reduced to the typical board book size, but its length has been decreased as well. The picture book version had 20 pages of text/illustration. Consequently, with only 14 pages in the board book version, six pages from the original had to be deleted. Jocelyn and Slaughter appear to have made their cuts in two ways. One was to simply delete entire "eaters" and their "foods." Consequently, bird/worm, bees/nectar and squirrel/acorn no longer appear in this version. Although some double page spreads, such as anteater/ants and whale/squid, have been retained, a couple of others were cut in half with only one page of the original double page spread now appearing. While the sole giraffe/leaves still works as a single page (there were originally two giraffes), I'm not certain that the same can be said for panda/bamboo. The "stand of bamboo" page has been excised, and I don't know that the young audience will "understand" what bamboo is from the few stalks that remain. The only other obvious change to Eats is that Slaughter has changed the background colour of zebra/grass from yellow to blue. Undoubtedly, this modification was made because the zebra page, which now faces the panda page, originally also utilized a yellow background. Having the same background colour could have erroneously suggested to youngsters that these two animals shared the same environment.

     Given that this board book is truly aimed at a younger target audience than was the original picture book, I am a little surprised that Jocelyn and Slaughter opted to delete familiar animals, like the bird and the squirrel, while retaining the more exotic, such as the whale. That said, Eats is still an excellent board book and belongs in all collections serving the very young. As well, it would make an excellent baby shower gift.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, edits CM.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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