I can totally relate to this cute picture book – and so can my three little rascals. My children spent a few solid years eating only good, healthy food but, somewhere along the way, processed food crept in and now dinner time can be a battle. I haven’t tried to smuggle broccoli into their ice-cream, although I don’t think they would be surprised if I tried – they know I add chickpeas to their choc-chip cookies and grate zucchini into their chocolate cupcakes (thank you Veggie Smugglers’ Wendy Blume). Nutrition is just so important!
There’s Broccoli in my Ice Cream! is a cheeky story that kids will enjoy reading. While it absolutely backs up what mums and dads say about good nutrition, children will appreciate that it acknowledges that processed foods are tasty and desirable. And the little guy at the centre of the story outsmarts everyone and comes out the winner.
Granville is a cute puppy who blatantly refuses to eat fruit and vegetables, despite his family’s best efforts. His extended family of greengrocers and prize-winning gardeners hatch a plan to appeal to Granville’s kind heart and trick him into at least trying fresh food. The young pup’s good intentions leads to the plan backfiring somewhat and fussy eaters will enjoy Granville’s triumph, although, importantly, he does try new foods and, surprise, surprise, finds they really aren’t that bad.
I enjoyed reading this with my own fussy eaters. It was an opportunity to talk about the importance of good nutrition and have a bit of a giggle at Granville’s ingenuity – what fun we could have with that magic watering can! This book could also inspire discussion about truly revolting food combinations (zucchini in your cupcakes isn’t so bad compared to…) or fabulous artworks of young readers’ own vegetable/ice-cream creations.
The illustrations are cheery and colourful and Granville’s facial expressions are gold. There’s a mix of full-page, double-page and smaller illustrations and it’s fun to turn the book sideways for the vertical double-page feature of Granville’s “ta-da” moment. I particularly like the dedication to the author’s “Super Gran” where Granville is drawn holding out a bunch of bright flowers in each hand. It seems very Granville.
There’s Broccoli in my Ice Cream is written and illustrated by Emily MacKenzie, published by Bloomsbury, February 2017, $14.99 (pbk) ISBN 9781408873304.