Eat, Leo! Eat!

Eat, Leo! Eat! illus. by Josée Bisaillon. 32p. Kids Can. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781771380133.
PreS-Gr 2—Life, like most cooking, is based on a simple recipe. Do what you love and take care of those whom you love. This simple recipe is followed beautifully in Adderson's new story celebrating pasta, family, and storytelling. In Eat, Leo! Eat!, a grandmother figures out how to entice her grandson to the dinner table by spinning a series of stories inspired by the shapes of the pasta she cooks for the weekly family gathering. At the beginning of the story, Leo cannot be bothered with coming to the "noisy, delizioso lunch" that has been prepared by his grandmother, Nonna. He'd rather play under the table with his toys. Instead of badgering her grandson, Nonna entices him with a story about a young boy and some magical occurrences. Each of the stories begins with the shape of the pasta she is serving that week, from stellines (stars) to chiancaredde (paving stones) to occhi di lupo (wolf eyes). Eventually, it is Leo who helps to make pasta and calls the family to lunch so he can hear the rest of his story. Leo is, as his grandfather chides, "hungry for stories." The bright, childlike illustrations pair perfectly with the story, and Bisaillon easily moves readers between the bustling kitchen and the storied settings by altering the color palette just slightly between the two settings.
VERDICT An engaging read-aloud that will have you gathering your family for a home-cooked meal and some shared stories.

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