Last week my colleague wrote about an effort to use the popular children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar to encourage kids to eat healthfully. But at least one mom out there has some concerns with the approach. Washington Post blogger Jennifer LaRue Huget writes on The Checkup this afternoon:
...The book's real message, as I read it, has to do with realizing your fullest, wonderful potential after feeling unremarkable for much of your life. That's why I kept reading it with my kids.
That, and the sheer tactile pleasure of Carle's illustrations, not just of healthful berries and other fruits but of a lollipop, a chunk of cake, an ice-cream cone. And not once did it occur to me to pause and point out that some of what the caterpillar consumed counted as "sometimes foods." If anything, reading the book made me want a piece of chocolate cake - and a big pink wedge of watermelon.
I know that too many kids in America don't eat the way they should and that too many weigh far too much. And I suppose that any tools we can enlist to help remedy those situations should be fair game. But (perhaps because I write picture books myself), I don't like seeing books co-opted for such didactic purposes...
LaRue Huget goes on to write that she hopes the campaign works, but she's clearly a bit skeptical. What do you think, readers? Can this fuzzy, friendly caterpillar be effective at teaching kids about nutritious eating?