My name is Mary, and I'm raising a veggie-phobe.
It didn't start out that way. When Sprout first joined our family he would eat anything and everything. We were so proud of our non-picky child! But as he got older, things changed, and his aversion to meat has spread to veggies. While he adores fruit and would eat nothing but that at every meal, veggies (with the exception of "dippy" carrots) are firmly on the "no, not like it" list.
It's more than a little frustrating.
In an effort to move through this phase a little quicker, I decided recently that a little bibliotherapy was in order. First up was Lois Ehlert's Eating the Alphabet. We've read and enjoyed a few of Ehlert's other books, and this is similarly engaging. The illustrations are what Eating the Alphabet is all about: huge, vivid, graphic representations of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Sprout enjoyed pointing out the ones he knew (pumpkin, broccoli, oranges) and trying out new words like rhubarb or kumquat. He was a little confused by some things, though - for instance, gooseberry, about which he says "dat not goose, Mama."
Next we tried Rah, Rah Radishes by April Pulley Sayre. This was a HUGE hit, more so than I could have anticipated . It's not too hard to see why. For starters, Sayre's included some gorgeous color photos of veggies in all their glory, and the pictures really make the vegetables look succulent. Sprout's always excited to act out taking a bite of the carrots, and they look mighty delicious, I must say. Plus, the rhymes in this book are absolutely infectious. After we'd read it a couple of nights in a row (it has become one of the most-requested titles in our rotation), Sprout could quote chunks of the veggie-centric chants verbatim. You should have seen the looks we got in the grocery store produce section when he yelled "Broccoli, cauliflower, give a cheer!".
Then we decided to bring the topic full circle with Soup Day by Melissa Iwai. Just looking at the cover of this book, you know you're in for a treat. I love this gentle title, not only because it shows off veggies like celery and zucchini, but also because it's all about a cozy afternoon at home making soup. Sprout loves the part where the narrator, a little girl with straight black hair, shows off the pasta shapes she picks to go with her veggies. And he never fails to say "Yum!" when she displays her finished soup, steaming hot and delicious. The illustrations here are engaging and soothing, a perfect match to the rhythm of the story and of the little girl's day. We even made our own pot of soup (there's a recipe included, though we used a different one), and Sprout pronounced it "Yum" too.
Best of all, when we sat down to dinner the other night, suddenly Sprout was far less averse to the veggie portion of the plate. He even discovered one new veggie that he likes - cucumbers! It may be a baby step, but we're headed in the right direction. And it's all thanks to picture books, naturally.