Author: C.J. Williams
Illustrator: Bryan Z. Rubio
Year published: 2012
Publisher: C.J. Williams
Number of pages: 30
Recommended age: 3+
Son Rating: ★★★★☆
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★☆
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Summary (from Amazon): If your child enjoys stories by authors like Maurice Sendak, Jon Klassen, Dr. Seuss and P. D. Eastman then you will love this beautiful story written by C.J. Williams, in this children’s story for kids both big and small. Chef ReCee Jay and Carb are ready to set off on a picnic with a basket full of sugary treats. Before they set off on their joyous adventure, Veggie hops in with a song, and changes their whole day! It’s a picnic surprise for Chef ReCee Jay and Carb and you’ll be surprised at what Veggie can do too! Parents and kids will fall in love with this fun rhyming picture book. Suitable for all ages!
What it’s about: This book is about a monkey, a person, and a rabbit who talk about food that’s good for you and bad for you.
What I liked and disliked: I liked that it was a rhyming book that had songs in it that my Mom sang. I like it when my Mom sings songs because it’s funny. I liked that it teaches you about stuff. I learned that donuts, cupcakes, pudding, pies, candies, pretzels, and cookies are bad for you. Foods that are good for you are bananas, apples, grapes, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce, berries, carrots, sandwiches, and peas. I learned that you can make some healthy foods taste better, for example, chocolate strawberries.
There were funny pictures in the book that I liked, for example, the last picture when the monkey uses carrots to make bunny ears and the picture where the monkey has hearts for eyes.
There’s nothing I can think of that I didn’t like about the book.
My bottom line: This book was ok to read and I would recommend it to boys and girls four years old and under.
What it’s about: Our Picnic Surprise is the first book in the Chef ReCee Jay & Friends series. This book features ReCee and her monkey friend Carb who pack up a picnic with all kinds of sweets and junk foods, until Veggie the Rabbit stops by and teaches them about healthy eating. Veggie teaches ReCee and Carb about the importance of eating healthy foods such as fruits and veggies.
What I liked and disliked: Our Picnic Surprise is a delightful book with vivid coloured illustrations of a woman (ReCee) and her two animal companions, Carb the Monkey and Veggie the Rabbit. The message in the book is very clear: good nutrition is important. When we are introduced to Carb, he is packing a picnic loaded with junk food until Veggie comes hopping by and teaches them that his body will feel so much better if he eats healthier foods. Many examples with illustrations are provided. Veggie even gives suggestions for making healthier food taste better, such as dipping strawberries in chocolate – although honestly, I think strawberries by themselves are delicious and I’m not sure that doesn’t cancel out the nutritional value of a strawberry. I also can’t say I’m sold on sweet potatoes tasting like a treat. However, the intent of the author is clear and she does provide many great ideas for good nutrition.
If you’ve read our reviews before, you know that we are big fans of rhyming in books for younger children. I can’t even begin to imagine how challenging that is. For the most part the rhyming works quite well, but there are a few iffy spots such as the following:
For many years ReCee and Carb have been friends,
And today was a day for a picnic again!
However, the rhyming combined with the “songs” in the book make it really fun to read aloud to children.
My bottom line: My kids and I enjoyed reading this book. It has a clear message about the importance of good nutrition. I would recommend this book for ages 3+.
*** Our Picnic Surprise was provided by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review. ***
Want to Submit Your Own Review?
If you want to submit a children’s book review of this or another children’s book, please click on Guest Reviewers above in the Navigation bar.
Where to Buy?
Visit www.carbmonkey.com for details.