If only I had read I'd Really Like to Eat a Child when I was small, life would have been so much easier.
This is not because I fell victim to some carnivorous beastie that could only be satisfied with devouring yours truly--though once I was surrounded by a ferocious herd of petting-zoo goats. Rather, I might have understood the importance of eating whatever my parents told me to.
I am a former picky eater. Fruits and vegetables were not my bag, and hot dogs reigned supreme. One time I even threw a stuffed pepper out the window. Fortunately, time has passed, and I began to appreciate the foods that I once avoided. But I know how the little crocodile Achilles feels when he rejects his parents' meal of freshly-picked bananas. "Today, I'd really like to eat a child."
Sing to me, Muse, the wrath of Achilles, who does not stop there, but also nixes a sausage and a big chocolate cake. He cannot be convinced otherwise. Parents worldwide know the sorrow of poor Mama and Papa Crocodile, who are unable to sway their finicky son. After a full day of eating nothing, a weakened Achilles marches to the river to take a swim. It is there that he sees his ultimate meal. A child sitting on the riverbank.
What happens next? Let us just say that there is a vast size difference between a human child and a baby crocodile, and Achilles winds up all wet.
Thankfully, our children do not have to suffer the same fate as this little croc. The library offers many books for children dealing with picky eating habits. A couple other favorites of mine are Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast, by Philip Stead, and Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell Hoban.
Achilles certainly does learn why it might be best to start with bananas rather than live human prey, and he rushes back to his loving parents with a new point of view. I'd Really Like to Eat a Child is a perfect read-aloud before lunch. Just make sure there are no children on the menu.