I am cucumber, hear me roar: Fast Food by Saxton Freymann

I always thought I’d be one of those mothers who set a balanced meal on the table and felt her job was done, but in this too, as with so much else about parenting,  I’d underestimated the intensity of my emotional investment. Eating doesn’t come easy to my 5-year-old, who sees mealtimes as a detour on the way to fun things. My solution is to lie (a lot). My son has been hoaxed and coaxed into trying different foods with the promise of superpowers (carrots give you x-ray eyes) and brain function enhancement (okra makes you better at math). Also:  variably-colored poo (beetroot).

So I was very delighted to chance upon Fast Food–a picture book showing that veggies and fruit can be fun, fun, fun.

Fast Food features fruit and vegetables artfully carved into different forms of transport–blimps and bicycles and submarines and all things between.  Given the natural affinity between kids and fast-moving objects, this concept is an obvious winner. While my son loved the banana airplane and the radish Santa on his red pear sleigh (Santa’s beard is made with cauliflower), I was very taken with  the snow pea skateboard, the orange wheelchair, and the okra rocket zooming towards an onion-ringed Saturn.  None of the ingredients have been colored or tinkered with in any way apart from some judicious carving, and little ones will have great fun recognizing the fruits and vegetable that make up these pictures.

There’s very little text, and what is there is in clear unfussy rhymes, with a calm good sense shining through each page.

“Sometimes you’ll want to travel far./Maybe then you’ll choose a car.
It might be wise if more of us/would ride together in a bus!”

And I love, love  Freymann’s gentle, playfully composed sculptures. Here’s a big yellow school bus.

This post obviously cries out for more images, but I can’t find any  via google search, so you’ll have to go to amazon.com and check the “Click to Look Inside” link to see more. And they are all awesome, from scallion man (who actually looks rather like Fido Dido)  to red pepper fire truck guys. Freymann is fiendishly talented–give him a putty knife and some eggplant and potato, and you’d probably have an edible Mona Lisa in an hour. He’s authored 7 other books featuring carved food, and if they are anything like this one, I’m in for a treat. Oh, if only all fast food were Fast Food.

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10 responses to “I am cucumber, hear me roar: Fast Food by Saxton Freymann

  1. This book is genius! haha… I love it! :)

    Btw… I was the pickiest eater growing up. Some things my dad used to do to get me to eat were to make a face out of 2 eggs sunny side up. He’d chop up the lettuce to make curly hair, pitted olives for the eyes a carrot for the nose… whatever he could find in the fridge so it was a different face every time. He also used to fill up small bowls of rice to the brim and turn them up-side-down on my plate (with my help of course) making “rice cakes” or “rice castles” with veggie garnish for the flag on top and the sauce would go around that to make the moat. Just thought you might want to try those.
    Also, at the Kindergarten I supply teach we once created “ants on a log” for snack. It’s chopped up celery sticks with cream cheese in the crevice and we had the kids line up raisins on the cream cheese so they look like ants. Not everyone liked the idea but most of them did… it’s worth a try.
    Good luck! :)

  2. Checked out the other photos on Amazon. Very creative and funny.

  3. Adorable! I never had any problems with my three of my four children eating vegetables. They love them! My oldest daughter, unfortunately, is only NOW (at 13!) open to eating several vegetables like carrots, potatoes, corn. I just don’t get it…

  4. This is way too cool! I want it, and I don’t even have kids. I just think those photos are amazing.

  5. Oooooh, fantastic! I’m off to find a copy…