Eat, Leo! Eat! by Caroline Adderson and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon (Kids Can Press, 2015) is an homage to Italian pasta and traditional lore. It is the story of a picky eater who loves his grandma’s stories about the Italian pasta she cooks each week at the family dinner. Each week, Nonna continues the story of a little boy (much like Leo) who is walking to see his grandmother, and as the story continues, Leo finds himself eager to hear more as he eats the traditional Italian pasta.
The book has mixed-media illustrations to illustrate both the crowded family meal gathering around the Sunday evening table as well as the fantastic story about the boy that Nonna ads to each week. One week, the stelline pasta represents the “stars” above the boy traveling in the evening in Nonna’s story. Another week, the occhi di lupo becomes the “wolf eyes” that the boy sees following him in the dark. But no worries, for spaghetti will soon follow! Week after week, the story continues, until Leo cannot wait for the story and joins Nonna in the kitchen, where he helps her make the pasta.
The end note to the book provides a brief overview of other traditional Italian pasta. As one who enjoys Italian food, I only wished that I could enjoy the recipes for these scrumptious sounding (and lovely illustrated) Italian dishes. Yum!
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.