Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Can I Eat That?

Can I Eat That?

Joshua David Stein
Illustrator:  Julia Rothman 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Phaidon Press, 2016   ISBN: 978-0714871400

For children the world of food is full of new adventures and lots of questions, questions that they ask their grownups. In this unique picture book children will discover all kinds of interesting facts about food, and some rather unusual food questions will be answered.

For example, they learn that they can eat a sea urchin. Sea urchins may look far too spiny to eat, or even to touch, but inside their prickly exterior there are pieces of meat called coral, and in Japan eating this meat with rice is popular.

In response to the question “Can we go pickle-picking some time?” we learn that pickles are typically made from cucumbers, which we can pick. But to turn them into pickles the cucumbers “have been soaked in vinegar or salty water called brine.” These pickles need to be made and can be purchased at a store.

Here is another question that children have been known to ask: Can we really eat jellyfish? Yes. In China jellyfish is sliced thin and is then served cold with vegetables.

In this very different book children are encouraged to think about things in new ways and to ask questions. Some of the questions are funny, and some of them are challenging. Some even lead to more questions.

The text in this book is presented in a very informal and accessible way and is accompanied by brightly colored artwork.