Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Jen Corace
"Little Pea" is the sweet story of a regular little pea-guy and his pea-parents. He does regular little guy things, playing at the playground with his pea-pals, snuggling with Mama Pea, roughhousing with Papa Pea. When it came to dinner, though, he hated it. Candy. Surely you understand, to "grow up to be a big strong pea", one must eat his candy. Thankfully, a nice bowl of spinach awaits for dessert.
The story is sweet and straightforward with an obvious moral that picky children will easily relate to. I appreciated that the text was funny and not too wordy, and that my five year old could easily read the book herself (since Jasper was so interested in hearing it again and again!). I don't think that you're about to convert any veggie-haters, but a subtle reinforcement of a nice message nonetheless.
My only complaint was the author's use of the word 'hate' when referring to Little Pea's disdain for candy. Sure, I wouldn't mind if a bit of that would rub off on my children, but the word 'hate' is one that we specifically don't use in our family (if only so that we can learn to use more descriptive words and I can prolong the time until the day one kid yells "I hate you!" as all children are wont to do).
Jen Corace's illustrations in the book are modern, simple, and lovely. The watercolors are vivid and leave plenty of white space on the page.
Mommy: Great addition to the family library since I'm not a bit tired of it after a solid 20 readings. Would be a great gift for the 2-3 year old set.
Josie (5): I really loved it. My favorite page is the one where he's playing hopscotch with his friends. I like hopscotch.
Jasper (2.5): Me like candy part best. Rainbow candy. Pea book is my favorite. We read it again?
Our activity was a bit silly and messy but seriously fun for both Josie and Jasper! If you check out the cover of the book you can see Papa Pea launching a gleeful Little Pea off the end of a spoon. This prompted a nice conversation about catapults and levers (for Josie) and the deliciousness of peas and marshmallows (for Jasper).
--Several different spoons, big, small, longer, deeper, etc
--A few cooked peas (fresh ones rolled off), miniature marshmallows, or other things to fling various distances
-Open space that may get splattered with pea-goo
--Place the spoon with the handle toward the child (or yourself if it's late and the children are in bed), and set a pea or marshmallow on the end of the handle. Use a finger to pounce down on the other end of the spoon, flinging the object some distance. Try a few different spoons to see which gives the best distance, then try to figure out why (hint: longer spoons go further and deeper bowls give you more flinging power).
--Optional: Have one kid try to catch flung marshmallows with their mouth while the other does the catapulting. Switch.
--Have kids clean up peas, marshmallows, etc, and put spoons in the dishwasher.