Author and illustrator Stephanie Blake was born in 1968 in the US, but lives in Paris, France. She has created dozens of French children’s books including Poo Bum, Stupid Baby, A Deal’s a Deal and I Don’t Want to Go to School. Lucky for us, Gecko Press have translated these books into English.
The problem with writing a children’s book as successful as Poo Bum is trying to follow it with something as funny. Even Simon Pegg tweeted about how much he liked Poo Bum, and let’s face it, there’s no higher praise. In this instalment, the cheeky little rabbit called Simon has a spaghetti addiction! The book does not disappoint. With simple and colourful illustrations, Blake tells a story of gentle persuasion. Simon the little rabbit is determined to only eat one thing … spaghetti! His parents, though, have other ideas.
Simon the rabbit could often be a stand-in for my own child, and I think many parents will feel this when reading Blake’s funny and sweet book. In I want spaghetti! Simon is coy, cheeky, and plain demanding: ‘His mother said, “Come and eat your toast, my little rabbit,” he replied, “Yuck! It’s horrible. I won’t eat it!”’ As the mother of a child who demanded ginger kisses for breakfast this morning, I identify with mother rabbit standing patiently in her son’s bedroom, a heart stitched onto her long pink dressing gown.
What’s wonderful about these books is they help both parents and children to talk about difficult behaviour. They’re funny, and acting out the dialogue is funny: ‘Slam! Crash! Bang! “ALL I WANT IS SPAGHETTI”’, rages Simon. Helping a child laugh about their own fussy eating and fickleness helps address the big emotions that come with these situations. I also think the books help parents laugh about these things too, which can be hard to do when your child is lying on the floor, eyes squeezed shut, and calling for ginger kisses. I can’t wait to see what Simon (and his parents) do next.
Reviewed by Sarah Jane Barnett
I want spaghetti!
by Stephanie Blake
Published by Gecko Press