Food Hates You, Too and Other Poems. New York: Hyperion Books.
Appetizer: Robert Weinstock includes 19 poems about troublesome foods in this collection. The carnival food turns and twists in attendees' stomachs, potential meals eat one another and, it turns out, food hates you too.
Since many of the poems have fun or humorously dark twists (as with the poem "Toast"), I was strongly reminded of some of the poems by Shel Silverstein. There is also some intertextuality, with references to fairy tales and a page illustrated in the fashion of Goodnight Moon:
As you can see, the illustrations are fun and colorful. I particularly liked the front end pages which featured a piece of broccoli stating, "This Bites!" (Although, some adults may take offense to the thought that some kids might take up that phrase)
The last poem, "Food for Thought" also seems designed to win over teachers and librarians, since it encourages the reader to think of reading as food for the mind.
"Ferris-wheeling is appealing
when your stomach isn't feeling
"If everyone hates different food,
Then couldn't it be true
That creamed chipped beef dislikes Gertrude,
And liver gags on Lou?"
"I ate your father. Yes, it's true.
That's what we praying mantis do."
To Go with the Meal:
Students could write their own food poems (and create illustrations to go with them) to write back at the book. Students could focus on writing about their least favorite foods, a topic most children have no problem discussing.
Since the title poem, "Food Hates You, Too" incorporates people's names, as in "deli Meats balk at Brigittes," students can follow this example and can construct a class poem (about food or another subject) that incorporates all of the names of the class members. Also, based off of the poem "Monday," students could write poems exploring what they eat each day of the week (which could then lead into a teaching moment on nutrition).
This is also a good book to share with young children who seem to hate any and every possible food. Food Hates You, Too shows many traditionally hated foods in a fun light and has the general encouraging message of giving all foods a chance.
Tasty Rating: !!!