Come and Eat!
George Ancona, author
George Ancona is an author and photographer. His photographs have appeared in many children’s books, including Join Hands, The Piñata Maker/El piñatero, and ¡Ole Flamenco!, the last two of which he wrote. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Read more about George.
- Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year, 2012
Bank Street College of Education (selected for 2012's Best Children's Books of the Year, ages 5-9)
Enticing, delicious photographs present regular meals and celebrations from around the world.
Almost identical in concept to Beatrice Hollyer's Let's Eat (2004)—right down to the cover photo of a young Asian girl eating noodles with chopsticks—this introduces food customs around the world for younger children. As focused on culture as on food, the brief, chatty text discusses the varied ways foods are eaten (with a spoon and fork, with chopsticks, slurped from a bowl, or with fingers); other customs about mealtimes, such as traditions in which men and women eat separately; and more. Veganism and vegetarianism are not mentioned, which seems strange given their growing prevalence, but the omission makes some sense here—dietary regimens do cross cultures, after all. The clean design features full-color photos, often in the shape of circles (like plates!) on bright white backgrounds. An introduction and an author's note explain more about Ancona's food heritage and how he worked with the people pictured here. —Diane Foote
Ancona explores the universal activity of eating, but the accomplished master of the photo essay doesn’t add enough spice to this pot.
Starting with an image of a nursing baby (but excluding a bottle-fed infant), photos of children and adults from different cultures are enclosed in circles and rectangles on white backgrounds. The clear photos highlight meal times, utensils, types of food and special celebrations, such as Hanukkah with its potato pancakes and St. Lucia’s Day with its saffron buns. Some double-page spreads feature large photos of people enjoying a meal with a corresponding detail of the foods. The most attractive one shows Nigerians dipping fufu, ground cassava root, into various meats and vegetables. Mealtime prayer is shown in photos of an interracial family saying grace and a Tibetan family praying before digging into their meat dumplings, momos. A Muslim gathering and a Polynesian luau depict examples of sharing and hospitality. The simple, straightforward text largely describes the photos, but there is no mention of how people get their food or the difficulty of getting enough to eat for some children and families. A few recipes would complement the attractive end papers with their checkerboard of food images.
A solid repast for the primary-school curriculum but not zesty enough for many tastes.
In a small, square-format book about kinds of food and ways of eating, bright photographs set within circular and rectangular frames depict children and adults eating alone, in groups, on the go, and in formal celebrations. Three workers eat simple lunches in the back of a pickup truck; a Japanese boy slurps noodles from a bowl; children roast marshmallows around a fire; and Nigerian diners sit on the floor to eat fufu, a cassava root paste. Ancona includes details about the cultures represented in each photograph ("Muslim friends remove their shoes to kneel on beautiful rugs to pray before sharing a meal"), providing not only a discussion about food diversity but also an intimate, globe-trotting tour.
School Library Journal
In this photo essay, Ancona takes readers on a culinary trip around the world. Different eating habits, celebrations, and foods are discussed. For example, people in India use two fingers and a thumb to eat. In Japan, long noodles are sucked up and swallowed. Tibetans eat meat dumplings known as momos. Muslim men and boys usually eat together on one rug, while women and girls dine on another. For Mexicans, "a tortilla can serve as a plate, a spoon, and even a napkin." The informational text is complemented by large, colorful photographs of people partaking of their meals and sharing festive celebrations. Pair this title with Patricia Lauber's What you Never Knew About Fingers, Forks, & Chopsticks (S & S, 1999), which looks at the development of eating implements from the Stone Age to current times. Come and Eat! is a worthy addition to most collections. – Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI
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Page count: 48
8 1/2 x 8 1/2