(Macmillan Children’s Books)
It is lunchtime, but the little girl in the story is far too busy drawing to go and eat. Eventually she sits at the table, reluctantly, but she just will not eat. Then first a crocodile, then a bear, and a finally a wolf appear, and they are all starving. They are not interested in gobbling up the little girl but they have their eyes on her lunch: the wolf munches on her apple, the bear slurps her soup and the crocodile eats her sandwich. Will her mum notice?
The cover of this book, and more particularly the drawing of the little girl and the expression on her face, is what first drew me to Rebecca Cobb’s books. It reminds me a little bit of a Japanese illustrator I love called Komako Sakaï.
Toddlers engrossed in play and not wanting to give up their fun to eat is not an uncommon problem and Lunchtime tackles this with great fun. The colour scheme is bright and joyous, and the Rebecca Cobb’s style is really child-friendly, with its mix of detailed illustrations and child-like, crayon style, drawings. Her use of the page is also very interesting in this book, with two double spreads including four illustrations, in a simple comic format, which brings a different speed to the narrative.
There is a satisfying closure in the story, particularly for parents, as the little girl ends up ravenous and eats up all her dinner – a good example to show little readers who might have similar food issues.
I think however that Lunchtime is also an ode to children’s creativity and imaginative play, as the animals turning up at the table are actually those the little girl has been drawing, hinting that this is all part of the little girl’s game. But though adult readers might realise this, to young audiences this tale will just be all about animals suddenly turning up to spice up an otherwise ordinary day, à la The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
Lunchtime is a beautifully crafted book. The appearance of the not-so-wild animals will delight little readers, as will and the familiarity of the daily routine of eating lunch and playing.
I really love Rebecca Cobb’s artwork, and very much look forward to discovering her next projects. Watch out here for the beautiful endpapers which mirror the crocodile’s coat!
All illustrations © Rebecca Cobb
Many thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for sending me a review copy of “Lunchtime”
Come back tomorrow to read all about Rebecca’s Fabulous Five Favourite picture books!