The simple storyline in MOMMY CAN I EAT THIS? by Maria S. is suitable for children to around age nine, however the content behind the plot–in a day and age where 56+ alternate names for sugar are often overlooked on household food labels from cereal bars to salad dressing–makes this a children’s book useful to everyone. Sidebars regularly appear on illustrated classroom-style chalkboards providing non-fiction facts, so the book can be (and perhaps, best is) shared with children by parents, teachers, day care centers, even teenage babysitters.
Though illustrations, plot momentum and character development could be strengthened, the value of this tale lies in the novel concept of adults playing a weekly sugar-intake game with kids. Each day parent gifts child with five sugar cubes which begin adding up as days go by, unless the child consumes sugary treats. In that case, the stockpile of sugar cubes are subtracted from (a cookie = the loss of three cubes, a chocolate bar = subtracting eight)…until Sunday, when a “super-duper, fancy treat” is received as reward IF there are enough sugar cubes left to warrant it. Pros: This game can be easily recreated by children and caregivers to exercise math skills and hone proficiency in cognitive abilities like patience, logical reasoning and deferred gratification.
Author Maria S. also offers follow-up support in the form of quarterly contests for parents and teachers. Some concerns: When a child in MOMMY CAN I EAT THIS? gets caught sneaking a chocolate bar, he is docked only three cubes instead of the stated eight, reinforcing the benefits of cheating in life and in one’s diet…probably not a concept the author intends to support. Also, end-of-week reward as outdoor activity rather than food is wonderful, however the treat being a visit to animals in captivity seems an odd choice when book bio describes author as having a diploma in animal reiki; therefore presumably someone concerned about plight of wildlife at most zoos.
More instructive tool than story, MOMMY CAN I EAT THIS? by Maria S. serves a vital purpose: educating children and the adults who care for them about moderating sugar intake.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader