Donnio, S. (2007). I'd Really Like to Eat a Child. New York: Random House.
Let me repeat. The title of this book is "I'd Really Like to Eat a Child." That alone made me want to read it.
I wasn't disappointed.
Appetizer: Achilles, a baby crocodile, is tired of eating bananas for breakfast. He doesn't even want sausage. So, he refuses to eat until he gets what he really wants and he would really like to eat a child. And when he sees a girl on the river's edge, all by herself, he tries to get his meal.
Kay, so this is a young children's pictureboook. While I don't want to specifically spoil the ending, I promise you, this is not a gory story. It's funny, with a bit of potential to make its readers uncomfortable.
Personally, I was very entertained.
When I first began reading the book, I was so amused with the little crocodile and the folkloric tone of the story, I HAD to start reading it out loud.
To my cat.
She didn't seem impressed. She may have been thinking, "what is that crazy mommy-creature doing now?" or maybe she was developing a taste for baby meat, I don't know. But after I'd finished reading it to her, I started looking over my syllabus for the quarter, asking myself when exactly I could tie in a book on wanting to eat a person to one of my lessons.
Shockingly, there was no perfect fit.
But even though it's a busy week, I'm going to start the class in which we'll be discussing The Hunger Games with I'd Really Like to Eat a Child. Cause...you know, both involve fights...and food. At some point. So, it's a stretch, but I'll go around the room and ask the students what their favorite food was as a child, ask them how often they actually got to eat it and call it good. We will all be entertained and amused and that is what matters.
Of course, I'm teaching undergrads. Students who, for the most part, aren't prone to fearing crocodiles in the well-tilled wilds of central Ohio. That may not be the case for younger readers. To help battle irrational fears of crocodiles that the text might trigger, a teacher could focus on sharing scientific information about the beasties.
I just wouldn't start with this news article. Or this one. Eep.
But seriously, few but dear readers, this book is very much focused on the theme of nutrition. A teacher could easily pair this book with a lesson on foods that can help to make wee little kids feel awake and strong.
"Every morning, Mama Crocodile would bring tasty bananas to little Achilles for his breakfast, and each time she said in wonder, "What a big boy you are getting to be, my son!"
"But one morning, Achilles refused to eat. This worried Mama Crocodile. "Don't you want a tasty banana for breakfast?" she asked.
"No thanks, Mom," Achilles answered. "Today, I'd really like to eat a child."
"Achilles was beginning to feel strange and rather weak all over--which is exactly what happens when you haven't eaten your breakfast."
"There on the riverbank, was a little girl playing by herself. "Yippee! Finally, I'm going to eat a child," Achilles whispered to himself.
He crept up slowly and bared his beautiful teeth, like a ferocious beast ready to pounce."
Tasty Rating: !!!!