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From the Phil & Lil Book series

by Phil Rosenthal & Lily Rosenthal ; illustrated by Luke Flowers RELEASE DATE: Feb. 6, 2024

Amusing but misleading on the nutritional and behavioral fronts.

With one taste of despised mustard, a child pivots from rejecting new foods to seeking them.

Dad takes Lil to a food truck festival. Lil, who narrates the story, is nervous; this child’s list of acceptable foods is short (pizza, rice, grilled cheese, french fries, and vanilla ice cream). Dad loves varied tastes and repeatedly reminds Lil of his rule: “Just try it!” With a “YECCCH!” or an “EWWWWWW!” Lil refuses a bagel loaded with toppings, linguini with clams, Peking duck, pizza with spinach and garlic, and a pretzel covered with Lil’s most hated of foods: mustard. Frustrated, Lil accidentally knocks the pretzel onto Dad’s shirt. Lil apologizes, takes a lick of mustard…and instantly learns to appreciate every rejected offering. Lil then uses the title mantra to pressure Dad onto a nausea-inducing roller-coaster ride. Bright, cartoon-style illustrations emphasize the pair’s upbeat mood. Food neophobia, or an aversion to eating anything novel, has complex psychosocial roots. But in this blithe little fable, the child’s resistance is completely overcome with a single accidental exposure, and the formerly picky eater immediately becomes a novelty seeker. The turnaround here is implausible; if this book creates any expectations of a sudden dramatic change in a child’s behavior, that would be a disservice. Both Dad and Lil are light-skinned.

Amusing but misleading on the nutritional and behavioral fronts. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781665942638

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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