Pete is a dog who eats all the wrong things. While a monkey munches on a banana, Pete eyes a pizza. While a mountain goat eats grass, Pete samples a cinnamon roll. A wolf, an elephant and a seal all choose healthy eating options; meanwhile, Pete is eating cotton candy and French fries and slurping a soda. No wonder, by book’s end, the other animals are running, climbing and happily playing while Pete is pooped!
The message in this small-sized picture book is blissfully simple and direct: Pete would have more energy if he ate healthier. It’s creatively reinforced by illustrator Gail Nelson’s use of full-color drawings for the healthy animals, while Pete is a mere shadow, in black and white.
Together, the drawings and text add up to a smart, easy way to teach children about healthy eating, with a few minor caveats: The Nelsons use words parents will likely have to explain to their children (for example, a tutorial at the back of the book about which foods are good to eat “every day,” which a “few times a week,” and so on refers to “legumes,” “trans fats” and “processed foods”; more child-friendly language could have enhanced the book’s appeal). In addition, while the illustrations are competent, they are not particularly inventive–though kids are sure to love the little Pete drawn in the lower right-hand corner of each page who runs when the pages are flipped fast!