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Worth the Candle
It wouldn’t be Mother’s Day without humor about the harried woman who tries too hard to please a persnickety family. In this larky poem by Mary Ann Hoberman, the family is named Peters and the persnickety-ness is about food preferences. If you were wondering, yes, there are many couplets involving Mrs. Peters and her picky eaters.
The Peters couple, to judge from this book’s fabulously detailed and funny illustrations by Marla Frazee, are a compatible pair who are extremely good with children. They have seven in extremely short order (the youngest are twins), and their lovely lakeside house is soon brimming with dishes, laundry, pets and the creative disorder of a sort that makes for happy childhoods. The only problem is that each child eats only one labor-intensive food. What was manageable when it was only little Peter Peters drinking only just-the-right temperature milk has become less do-able now that seven individual tastes want satisfaction. (The twins both eat eggs, but not identical preparations. “But Flo like poached eggs, Fran liked fried / If she mixed them up, they cried.”)
Mrs. Peters flips out a bit one night—it’s just before her birthday—and goes to bed early. The children, meeting in their cozy and crammed attic bedroom, hatch a plan to make their mom breakfast in bed: All their favorites!
The result is a solution to Mrs. Peters’ dilemma that is perhaps not rooted in nutritional guidelines, but that is a complete crowd-pleaser for little readers, especially those who think any book that doesn’t rhyme is a book not worth their time.