Title: Lunchtime

Author & Illustrator: Rebecca Cobb

Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Books, 2012
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-5
Themes: Food, Childhood Experiences, Imagination

Opening Lines:

At lunchtime Mum said, “Eat up.”
I said, “No thanks, I’m a bit too busy.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

It’s lunchtime for one little girl, but she’s just not hungry. A visiting crocodile, bear and wolf, however, are starving. It’s just as well that children taste revolting! A beautifully illustrated tale of food, friendship and fun.


  • Check-out Playing by the Book’s review, that contains activity suggestions such as making watercolor rainbow rings (see endpapers), creating shadow puppets (see title page of book), or having a tea party.
  • Have kids draw out a picture of what is on their lunchtime plate, and ask which animal would come to eat the food.

Why I Like This Book:

A perfect picture book – simple, imaginative, colorful, and relate-able by every young child who would rather be doing something else than eating.

The little girl is drawing and painting pictures of animals and does not want to pause for lunch. But she must and so she sits and sits at the dining table, until a colorful crocodile appears under the table asking for her untouched food. Soon a bear and a wolf appear. Not to worry these are friendly animals, after all she created them (hint, hint). The animals eat her food and her mother allows her to go play upon seeing the clean plate. There are consequence to not eating as the little girl finds out. Parents will enjoy the message of why not to skip a meal. Don’t forget to check-out the back cover of the book for a special scene on friendship.

The illustrations are the gem of this book. The art is simple and colorful, a mixture of detailed illustrations and child-like drawings. I like the little girl’s hair that appears as if it were colored with a felt tip pen. I also enjoyed the crayon scribbles on the bear and burst of rainbow colors on the crocodile. Checkout the endpapers for more rainbow circles. The author has done an accurate, beautiful job with the expressions of the characters and well as the movements of the young girl. Some of my favorites are the little girl’s bored expressions at the table as well as her movements of trying to get off the chair and later rushing to dinner. To see more art from the book check out Rebecca Cobb’s site.

There is so much detail in the illustrations which helps to keep the text at a minimum. This would make a good book for PB writers to study and do a page-by-page analysis of what is conveyed in the text vs the art.

This book was published in the UK in spring 2012 and may not be readily available in the US. You can check WorldCat. I was able to get this book through the Interlibrary Loan system.

This review is part of Susana Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.


23 Comments to “Lunchtime”

  1. This book sounds great Love that “no thanks, I’m a bit too busy.”

  2. Glad to read you enjoyed it as much as we did 🙂

  3. Love the cover! I checked out her website…WOW! She has a book coming out in October written by Julia Donaldson, who is a favorite of mine. I’m adding this to my list.

  4. Love the pic of the croc! I want to know how the story ends!

  5. I am liking the cover illustration – super croc-scales! Just submitted a purchase suggestion at my local library

  6. Always look forward to your choices Darshana. I love the theme — good for kids. I think as a child I was always too busy to eat — too many things to do and explore. So, I love the opening. The illustrations look amazing. Thank you for introducting me to this book and author.

  7. Once again fueling my green-eyed monster when I see the inspirational work of author-illustrators!

    The critters remind me a teeny bit of Nadine Bernard Westcott – whom I love!

    Thanks Darshana.

    • Totally there with you. But I have found authors who do amazing books where the text plays off the illustrations and vice versa, check out Mac Barnett’s books. Never heard of Nadine, will have to look her up. Thanks!

  8. So that’s how you write a book about fussy eating. I had an ms called Eat up with lots of animal hullabaloo and was told it’s a touchy subject fussy eating. Good job I didn’t pursue it this sounds better 🙂

  9. This sounds terrific, Darshana! Your description has made me wish I had a copy right now so I could read it immediately! Instead it will have to go on my library list 🙂 Thanks for sharing what sounds like a delightfully fun book!

  10. Ha, ha. I love “children taste revolting.” This looks like a perfect little book.

  11. I love the art! The look on her face as she’s sitting at that table is priceless. Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. This sounds really cute. I like the cover. 🙂

  13. This looks very sweet. I’m a big fan of animal books!

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