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I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato - Lauren Child

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13 Reviews

Genre: Junior Books / Author: Lauren Child / Edition: Reprint / Paperback / Reading Level: Baby-Preschool / 32 Pages / Book is published 2003-10 by Candlewick Press (MA) / Alternative title: Charlie and Lola: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato

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    13 Reviews
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      24.04.2013 22:39
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      A fun story which never seems to get old with my children.

      Lauren Child has created a lovely duo in brother and sister, Charlie and Lola. My sons have always enjoyed seeing these characters on the cbeebies channel, and we have also collected quite a few books featuring the pair. They are lovely books to read to children and for my eldest son to now start reading himself.

      The books always feature quite every day situations that will be familiar to children, in this case the fact that your parents try to get you to eat things that are good for you but you don't particularly like. I think children can relate to the sibling relationship shown in the story really well.

      Charlie is the older protective brother who is always looking out for his sister Lola. In this story, Charlie is trying to persuade Lola that she should eat her dinner. She comes up with a long list of items that she really doesn't like, and rather than just tell her to eat up like parents would, Charlie exhibits a lot of patience and comes up with some lovely stories about the food to make it seem that bit more special to persuade Lola to try it. Amazingly, she then tries and likes a bit of all these foods. 'That isn't potato, its cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji.' 'These are not carrots, they are orange twiglets from Jupiter.'

      Each double page spread in the book features lots of lovely illustrations that are in the bright colourful style featuring quite flat people that features in Lauren Childs story books. I love the page where Lola lists all the foods she won't eat as there is a picture of the item after every word, and this enables my youngest son to read this aloud confidently as he can see the word and the picture.

      After this, each food is taken individually with Lola stating she won't eat it, before Charlie comes up with a story and she then tries it. I like seeing them swimming under the sea to get the ocean nibbles (fish fingers) and in space to get the orange twiglets (fish fingers) and there is something quite cute about the picture of Lola holding her bowl above her head to catch green drops (peas) with her tongue sticking out in concentration.

      As always with these books, some of the writing is non-linear, written in wavy lines across the page. This is a bit easier than some to read as at least it is all printed conventionally and not upside down or in spirals.

      Something that always strikes me with these books is that there is no adult ever shown within the book, and I guess this is because that would upset this wonderful dynamic between the children if mum were there to do the persuading. It is a little odd seeing them in the kitchen as though Charlie is preparing this meal though when I get the impression both children are primary school age, so you wouldn't expect Charlie to cook Lola's dinner. This slight deviation from realism does not spoil my childrens enjoyment of the book however.

      My children like the routine of reading this and then commenting to me about which foods they like and dislike from the list, then they like to laugh at the silly names Charlie has made up for the food, and talk to me about whether Lola has really been fooled or not.

      Overall, it is quite a fun book. It is one of the better Charlie and Lola stories as it is quite interesting and Lola is not being too brat like in it. Fans of the TV show will love seeing how this is presented in print format.


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        24.04.2013 16:43
        Very helpful



        Totally Tomato-tastic !

        == I Will Never Not Ever Eat A Tomato ==
        == By Lauren Child ==

        I will never not ever eat a tomato was Lauren Child's first Charlie and Lola book. Wrote in 2000, it has since won a Kate Greenaway Medal, and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Seal Award. We bought this book back in 2004 for our son who was 2 at the time at the cost of around £5 , it can be currently bought on amazon for £4.54 new and as little as 1p plus postage secondhand .

        ==The Book ==
        The large paperback book measures 27 cms by 24 cms and has 32 full colour pages .
        It starts in the same way every Charlie and Lola story starts with, I have this little sister Lola she is small and very funny .... The book is wrote from Charlie's perspective
        Charlie has to give his little sister her dinner , this is proving to be tricky as she is a very fussy eater . Lola is quick to tell you all the food she doesn't like , she will never eat a tomato , or a banana, or peas, or carrots , or mushrooms , or spaghetti, and lots more, the list is endless. So Charlie comes up with a cunning way to trick her by re-naming all the food to make it sound appealing to Lola.
        First its the carrot , Lola informs Charlie she will never ever eat a carrot when she sees them on the table, but Charlie tells her they are orange twiglets from Jupiter . Lola isn't convinced as says they look like carrots , but Charlie asks her how can they be carrots , carrots don't grow on Jupiter. Lola decides if they are all the way from Jupiter then she will try one . Mmmm not bad she says while taking another bite.
        Next is the humble pea , not anymore they are now green drops from Greenland which fall out of the sky . Again Lola isn't convinced until Charlie tells her they are incredibly rare , then she can't help herself and has to try them .
        This goes on throughout the story with mashed potato being cloud fluff , fish sticks are ocean nibbles from under the sea, that mermaids eat all the time.
        Then the tables turn, and Lola asks Charlie from one of them while pointing at a bowl on the table that contain tomatoes ! Charlie can't believe she is asking for a tomato and asks her is she sure , yes of course she says moonsquirters are my favourite , you didn't think they were tomatoes did you Charlie .

        == Thoughts ==
        I don't think i have ever met anyone who doesn't love this book , it's bright, it's colourful , the illustrations are lovely and the dialogue is very child friendly with lots of fun to be had while reading it . Originally bought for my son , and now loved by my daughter , we all know the story off by heart , its been read that many times .
        As an aid to fussy eaters , will it help ? 50 /50 I would say . It had an effect on my son when at 2 being a typical toddler, he was reluctant to try different things , and reading this and then having our own cloud fluff and green drops etc did help him try different things. We then took it further by naming other food with silly names and it did seemed to work he is now a fantastic eater and will try anything new .
        On the other hand this made absolutely no difference to my daughters fussy eating , and she still is a terribly fussy eater, with a bigger list of dislikes to likes .
        A great book for any toddler , if you're a Charlie and Lola fan it's even better , and if you get a fussy eater to eat something new its got to be the best book ever !

        5 out of 5


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          30.12.2012 17:25
          Very helpful



          Charlie and Lola are fab modern storybook characters, and this book is one of their best

          I bought this book for my daughter when she was 2, and she used to love it being read to her... Now she is 6 and loves reading it herself! Charlie and Lola are endearing characters, and this book shines as one of the most memorable examples.

          The story itself is simple (warning - spoiler alert!!!!). Lola will not eat lots of foods, but Charlie persuades her to by telling her they are actually other (more exciting) foods - for example ("These are not peas, they are green drops from Greenland"). The story is not only entertaining, but creative and great for sparking young imaginations (what WOULD a supermarket under the sea be like?!) without inhibiting them with adult boundaries.

          Yes, Lauren Child does dice with danger when she has Lola refusing her dinner (will my child be inspired to do the same -aaargh!) but I have had no such problem and a story of a perfect child who ate all their vegetables would hardly allow for the same creative storyline, now, would it?!

          The illustrations for this book are super too, as usual. There is lots going on on each page, a great use of colour and pattern, and very appealing to adults and children alike. I have found that my baby loves looking for things in the pictures (where are the... tomatoes? ... "there they are!") as much as my older daughter loves following the story through combination of words and illustrations. It makes reading and sharing books as a family fun, and that is why I highly recommend this book.


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          27.10.2010 16:27
          Very helpful



          An excellent Charlie and Lola book

          Charlie and Lola: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato - Lauren Child

          My daughter has been a fan of the CBeebies programme, 'Charlie and Lola' since she was very little, and although she does not tend to watch it on the television much anymore due to the introduction of more sky channels, she still loves the books.

          Charlie and Lola is written and illustrated by Lauren Child, who has had a few books win various awards as well as her stories turned into children's television programmes. This particular boo, I believe, is part of the very first series of Charlie and Lola on the television.


          "I have this little sister Lola.
          She is small and very funny."

          As the title suggests, the story is about brother and sister duo, Charlie and Lola. In each story, Charlie tells the story in the first person narrative. Every story covers very simple stories that children can relate to about every day happenings. Although the stories are simple, they are written in a very child-like way (without being patronising in the slightest), which make them very funny with great lovable characters and child-like imagination within the pages which brings your own childhood back to you.

          This particular book follows the siblings as they explore certain foods which Lola dislikes. Like many young children, Lola is a very fussy eater and refuses to eat a lot of different foods such as carrots, peas, mushrooms, potatoes, eggs, spaghetti and more, and the food she dislikes the most is tomatoes.

          Now for some apparent reason, Charlie and Lola's parents never feature in the books, so it is always down to Charlie to help his little sister through her problems, and this story is no different. To help Lola eat her dinner, Charlie explains to her that they are not eating any of the foods she does not like, though Lola is not convinced as all the food is laid out on the table before them. To conquer this, Charlie renames the foods and creates a wonderful story for children's imaginations. Suddenly the peas are transformed into Green Drops which fall from the sky in Greenland, and the carrots turn into orange Twiglets from Jupiter, and so on. Lola is sceptical at first, though soon joins in with the imagination of Charlie and starts to try the different food. Finally, they come to the tomatoes - the food which Lola hates the most, though Lola is totally into the 'game' that she comes up with her own name for them; Moon-Squirters'!

          The story is written in a child's language and so is sometimes a little confused or broken, though this is all part of the charm of these stories. Children not only relate to the story lines, but also to the characters as they become even more real due to their speech patterns.

          Another thing which I find rather appealing in these books are the illustrations. There is a mixture of rough drawings alongside images of real objects. Although this does not sound as though it would work, it really makes the pictures something different. The illustrations themselves are drawn as though a young child would draw them, with rough lines and colourings in a mixture of collages and pencil drawings. They are really fantastic to look at! We quite often think of perfectly drawn and coloured illustrations as brilliant to look at, though even with the child-like drawings present in this book, something truly wonderful is here. It makes it even more relevant to young children and some slightly older children can even attempt to copy their favourite characters from the book with more ease than more complex drawings.

          My daughter thoroughly enjoys me reading this book to her, and even calls some of her own food by the names in the book! It even helped me with some dinner time games to help my fussy daughter try new things - and a lot of the time it works!

          FINAL WORDS

          The RRP of this book is £5.99 which is an average price of books these days, though unlike some, this book is certainly worth it. You can find the book slightly cheaper on places such as Amazon, or if you are lucky, do what we did and find it around a car boot sale for 20p! I do like my bargains!!

          Charlie and Lola is one of the programmes my daughter likes which I have never gone off of. The stories are fun-packed and exciting and full of imagination, and this particular book is all that and more. The story line is fantastic for fussy eaters and even helped me come up with some ideas to help my own little fussy eater!

          The only slightly negative thing I can think of with this book is also a positive on the other hand. This is the way the book is written. On one side of the fence, the child-like way of writing is perfect for young children to relate to as it mirrors pre-schoolers ways of speaking really well, though the downside of this is that your own child may start to mimic Charlie and Lola's way of speaking and therefore not learn correct grammar.

          Apart from this, though, the story plus the amazing pictures make this a brilliant book for young children and is part of a much larger set which includes such titles as 'Say Cheese', 'This is Actually My Party', and 'I'm really ever so not well' and many more. Not only is this particular story great fun, it also helps parents and fussy eaters at meal times. It worked for me, will it work for you?!


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            25.05.2010 20:59
            Very helpful



            A great children's book

            My daughters are aged 2 and 4 and are big fans of Charlie and Lola. This was the first Charlie and Lola book that we bought and they were instantly hooked.
            The story is usually told from Charlie's point of view and always starts off "I have this little sister Lola, she is small and very funny" and then goes on to describe what Lola has been doing and saying.
            In this book, Charlie is trying to get Lola to eat her dinner, but she is a very fussy eater, so Charlie has to use his imagination to get her to eat.
            He tells her that mashed potato is cloud fluff, carrots are orange twiglets from Jupiter, peas are green drops from greenland and fishfingers are ocean nibbles from under the sea.
            It's brilliantly written and before long you'll be serving up similar things at dinner time - we don't have mash any more - only cloud fluff!
            The illustrations are simple drawings and capture Lola's expressions perfectly. Photographs of some of the foods are cleverly mingled with the illustrations for a really effective result.
            There's lots more Charlie and Lola books in the series, they're all fun to read, but in my opinion this one is the funniest and best.
            The full retail price of this book is £5.99 which is reasonable, if you can get it cheaper it's a bargain.


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            20.06.2009 17:48
            Very helpful
            1 Comment




            Charlie and Lola are the main characters in a series of books by Lauren Child . They is also a TV series based on the books .

            Lola is an energetic, independant little girl of 4 years old, and Charlie is the unendingly patient big brother, who, as all big brothers should, looks out for his little sister , making sure her imagination doesn't lead her into too much mischief . He's also the narrator of the book .

            The plot is really very simple - Charlie has to supervise Lola eating her dinner, and Lola, like many little girls (in fact, extraordinarily like my own daughter) is a fussy eater - peas are too small and green to even bother with, and carrots are strictly for rabbits , NOT for little girls .

            Charlie resorts to a trick I'm sure many of us parents recognise - renaming foods and bringing an element of fun and imagination to dinnertimes . Carrots are no longer carrots, but orange twisters from the planet jupiter, and mashed potatoes are now cloud fluff, freshly plucked from the sky .

            Each item of food becomes something else, and Lola tries them all excitedly - after all, cloud fluff is far more exiting than mashed potato. The book ends with Lola eating a tomato - something she said she would 'Never, not ever' eat, and surprised Charlie by renaming it herself - it's no longer a tomato but a moon squirter.

            My daughter enjoyed this book - I actually purchased it for her because of the title (my daughter despises tomato). She's 6, and found it simple to read, in fact it may have been just a tiny bit too easy for her , but I like books that she can read independently, and she's turning into a little bookworm .

            The illustrations in this book are charming - a mixture of collage, photography, and drawings in crayon and pen . This is a very distinctive style used by Lauren Child in most of her books, and is instantly recognisable .

            Although this is a kids book, I have to admit I enjoyed it too- the similarities between Lola and my own Daughter made me smile, and having resorted to the same tactic as Charlie to get her to eat her dinner, I found it amusing . In my house, brocolli florets are fairy trees, and meatballs are pixie footballs, so it was a very familiar situation.

            My daughter has actually started to be a little less fussy in her eating now - and while I can't credit that entirely to the book, I do think it helped . She says 'Lola is younger than me, and if she can be brave and try new foods, I can be too, because I'm bigger'.

            She still hates tomatoes though.

            This book has a cover price of 5.99, although I'm sure if you look around you can find it cheaper. I'd definitely recommend it it for any young child, not just fussy eaters .


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              16.01.2009 19:18
              Very helpful



              An award winning story for young children to enjoy

              Lauren Child writes books featuring the characters Lola and her brother Charlie. In this book Charlie, try to persuade Lola to try some different food by making them exciting and adventurous!

              I will not ever never eat a tomato is written by Lauren Child and published by Orchard books. The book is about 30 pages long and the RRP is £5.99. I bought this book as part of a set off the book people the set cost £10 for five books so I actually paid £2 which is amazingly cheap for this type of book. The book won an award winning book it won an award called Kate Greenaway medal award winner.

              This book tackles some important issues, as children are often very fussy with foods. Lola will not eat peas, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, spaghetti, egg, sausages, cauliflower, cabbage, backed beans, bananas, oranges or tomatoes until her older brother Charlie uses his imaginations and convinces Lola that Orange twiglets (carrots) from Jupiter are fantastic to eat!

              The book continues as Charlie tells Lola what all the foods really are in the end Lola really enjoys eating Orange twiglets, moonsquirters, cloud fluff, green drops and ocean nibbles! This book shows how powerful being positive and using your imagination can be around children.

              I really like the format and the way Lauren Child writes her books. The books are paperback and a good size to hold. The writing is a good size for young readers and the words the uses are a nice combination between easy to read words and adventurous words. The text is different to other book as it floats around the page and changes directions which makes it interesting. The book has quite a lot of words but because they are spread over 30 pages, the book seems easy to read for young readers.

              Lola and Charlie are interesting characters they are very popular with children. The illustrations are nice and simple to the book can be told just by looking at the pictures as well. I really like these books for young children they seem to have a good balance between tackling difficult issues and being fun to read.


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                30.11.2008 17:35
                Very helpful



                An engaging and beautifully illustrated children's book

                If you have small children in your household, you're probably familiar with the names 'Charlie and Lola'. These two characters have become enormously popular, through the series of books written by Lauren Child and their appearances on CBEEBIES.

                The books feature brother and sister, Charlie and Lola. Charlie is aged 7 and Lola is 4. I'm not sure whether I should be reporting these children to the Social Services because it seems that Charlie is in charge of Lola in every scenario with no trace of a parent in sight. Charlie is often given the task of looking after Lola, which can involve anything from encouraging her to eat her dinner to making her to go to bed.

                We are often told by Charlie that his Mum and Dad have asked him to help Lola with various activities, but we only have his word for that. All very suspect.

                Anyway, this book from the series which I am reviewing today is my younger daughter's absolute favourite. Its title 'I will not ever never eat a tomato' is a sentence she repeats endlessly. It's particularly pertinent to her because she has refused to touch a tomato her entire life. This causes me much grief, being fully aware of the health benefits of tomatoes. I hoped this book could help her overcome her dislike of tomatoes.

                I can't say it will do much for helping her with her grammar either, but she's only four years old herself and the language used is meant to reflect how young children talk to each other.

                ~~~The Story~~~

                As in common with most of the Charlie and Lola books, these two characters are the only stars featured in this book. Charlie introduces himself and his sister to the reader and explains that his Mum and Dad sometimes ask him to give Lola her dinner.

                We are shown in turn, all the foods that Lola will not eat. These include carrots, peas, potatoes, mushrooms, spaghetti, eggs, sausages, cauliflower, cabbage, bananas, oranges, baked beans, apples, rice, cheese, fish fingers and finally it's revealed that she absolutely will not ever never eat a tomato. Of course, this really means, taking grammar into account, that she will actually one day eat a tomato. But in the context of child speak, the double negative is meant to enforce the fact that she hates tomatoes.

                So, with the parents out doing who knows what, Charlie is given the task of providing dinner for Lola. He tells Lola that she doesn't have to eat any of those foods she so dislikes. Oh no. He then plays a little game with Lola. First he places a carrot in front of her. Of course, all she sees is a carrot and is none too happy. But Charlie is very clever. He tells Lola that it's not a carrot, but is in fact an orange twiglet from Jupiter. Despite Lola retorting that they still looked like carrots, Charlie asks her how could they be carrots when carrots don't grow on Jupiter. Lola agrees and decides to try one out.

                The rest of the story carries on in the same vein, with Charlie re-introducing Lola's disliked foods one by one as something totally different. For instance, peas become green drops from Greenland and fish fingers are ocean nibbles from the supermarket under the sea. Lola is happily persuaded to try them all.

                And then we come to the tomato, Lola's most hated food of all. The difference here is that Lola herself has requested a tomato without Charlie's fantastical spin on them. Charlie is perplexed. Then Lola turns the tables on him and says 'moonsquirters are my favourites. You didn't think they were tomatoes, did you Charlie?'

                ~~~The Illustrations~~~

                The book is beautifully illustrated throughout, also by the author, Lauren Child. The Charlie and Lola characters are drawn in a one dimensional manner and look as if they've been drawn by and coloured in by a child. Pictures of the food are a combination of real photos and more childlike drawings.

                The text is written in a higgledy piggledy way with varying typefaces included for each word which is designed to mimic the way small children write when they are just learning the skill.
                The entire book is brightly coloured and visually appealing with wonderful expressions on the children's faces.

                ~~~My Verdict~~~

                Both of my daughters aged 4 and 8 love this book, and it's probably aimed at children aged between 3 to 8. For the younger children who can't yet read, the pictures are visually stimulating as most children are likely to recognise all the foods shown.

                For those who have picky eaters for kids, this could be a novel way of encouraging them to try out new foods or reintroducing something they have previously rejected.

                Unfortunately, in my case, it hasn't encouraged my youngest to try out a tomato, no matter how small. But she loves the story and enjoys trying to read herself.

                This book is a Kate Greenaway Medal award winner.


                It's available in most major bookstores or online for £5.99; the ISBN is 1-84121-602-X.

                There are many more books in the Charlie and Lola series which are all equally as fun. They include titles such as 'I will be especially very careful', 'I am too small to go to school', 'I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed' and many more.


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                  25.07.2008 19:01
                  Very helpful



                  RECOMMENDED xx

                  My four year old daughter has developed an interest in the characters Charlie and Lola and brother and sister act with Charlie being the older, wiser and very patient brother and Lola being the annoying, know it all, little sister.

                  This book features the two siblings and the fact that Charlie has been asked by his parents to help give Lola her dinner. However Lola is a very fussy eater and will not eat a whole load of stuff which is listed through the pages. It is up to Charlie to find a way round Lola's eating hang ups and get her to eat some good things.

                  My daughter thinks this is a really good book. Luckily for me she is a good eater and has no hang ups about vegetables or anyhting much except fruit, so I reinforce this with her through the book. When Lola starts saying she doesn't like peas or potatoes etc, I reinforce the fact that my daughter DOES like these foods, in case she gets any funny ideas to copy Lola in the story.

                  Another thing my daughter likes is the illustrations. Some are drawn in cartoon style and some things on the page are actual photographs of things. Like the food in this book is actual photos and not drawn pictures which is nice and makes it more interesting.

                  I think my daughter will have a good sense of humour as she does find Lola funny and Charlie is a nice big brother and she recognises that too.

                  Charlie and Lola are great characters and I think this book may well help a number of parents who have fussy eating children. After all little girls would like to eat Mermaid fish fingers and cloud fluff not mashed potato and normal fish fingers.

                  What do you think Lola did?


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                  26.03.2008 07:59
                  Very helpful



                  Popular book

                  I will not ever never eat a tomato

                  The author is a bit of a favourite in our house at the moment- Little Miss always enjoyed the books and now finds them amusing to read independently. nSome of the information is relevant and noted also in the reviews about other books by Lauren Child.

                  The book has won several prizes including the Norfolk Children's Book Award and the Kate Greenaway Medal.

                  ##THE STORY##

                  Featuring the popular children's characters Charlie and Lola, who can be seen daily on cbeebies. I guess Charlie is about 7 or 8 years old and he always strikes me as being incredibly patient, whilst Lola is just pre school age and incredibly fussy!

                  In this book, Charlie has to feed Lola which is a tricky job because she won't eat carrots (for rabbits) and she won't eat peas (too small). When Lola gives Charlie a list of the things she won't eat he agrees that there will be none of that, so Lola is confused to see some carrots on the table. Charlie assures her that they are not carrots but are orange twiglets from Jupiter, so of course Lola tries one and thinks they are quite tasty.

                  He tries similar tricks with peas, potatoes and fish fingers, and because his explanations sound fun to Lola, she eats the foods. In the end she points at a bowl and asks for one. Charlie is astounded because they are carrots, but Lola assures him that moonsquirters are her favourites!

                  ##THE ILLUSTRATIONS AND TEXT##

                  What I really like about this book are the illustrations and the text. The text wraps itself round the pictures and sometimes it's written on the actual items the children are talking about. The illustrations are simply drawn line pictures but sometimes it looks as though they are photographs, for example, when we see pictures of the food stuffs- these are most definitely photographs apart from when Lola is giving a list of all of the foods she won't eat, when they are in kind of cartoon style. Sometimes the text is in boxes kind of cartoon style and sometimes it curls and snakes round the page; when they are talking about the fish fingers, the text is made to look like waves. To emphasis points, the font is different sizes. This can make the book quite difficult for very young children to read independently because they often don't know where the text goes next, but because the language is quite simple, children who have a grasp of reading should find it ok to read, especially if they have had the book read to them previously.

                  ~~OTHER BITS OF INFORMATION##

                  ISBN: 1-84121-602-X

                  Publisher: Orchard Books, 2000

                  ##OTHER BOOKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR##

                  A quite prolific and very popular author, books include:

                  I am absolutely too small for school
                  I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed
                  Who's Afraid of the big bad book?
                  Beware of the story book wolves
                  My Uncle is a Hunkle

                  A great book for fussy eaters. Even very young children can name the different foods and talk about the ones they like and the ones they don't like. We have used it to have taster sessions, and using Charlie's theory, have managed to encourage children in the classroom to try different foods. At home when little Miss was younger and convinced that there were things she didn't like, the same theory often applied- think of a fun concept and apply it! If children enjoy the characters and the story, it is a great way to get them to try new foods.

                  The illustrations are simple and because the text is often in comic book style, the book becomes more than just a picture story book, and can be enjoyed by older children without them feeling that they are reading a book which is too easy for them


                  Thanks for reading.

                  Daniela xx


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                    24.05.2007 06:55
                    Very helpful



                    Another great book in this popular series by Lauren Child.

                    ~ Charlie and Lola ~

                    Charlie and Lola are very popular television / cbeebies characters.
                    The siblings were first introduced in this book ' I will not ever, NEVER eat a tomato' and first aired on tv in the autumn of 2005. Charlie is a boy of approximately 7 years with a younger sister called Lola.

                    The creator of Charlie and Lola, Lauren Child has created quite a lot of books in a short space of time, some of which I have listed below:
                    * I absolutely must do colouring-in now!
                    * I am not sleepy and I will NOT go to bed.
                    * Snow is my favourite and my best.
                    * I am TOO absolutely small for school
                    * Whoops! But it wasn't me.

                    ~ The Story ~

                    The story is told by Charlie. He introduces his sister, Lola descrbing her as small and very funny!
                    He tells the reader that sometimes he has to keep an eye on her and even has to give her her dinner which he declares is a 'hard job' as she's a fussy eater!
                    Lola comes out with all kinds of excuses for not eating certain things:
                    * Carrots are for rabbits.
                    * Peas are too small and green
                    Lola comes out with a HUGE list of things that she will not eat ranging from mushrooms to fish fingers and 'I absolutely will not ever NEVER eat a tomato'.

                    Charlie very cleverly tells her that that's lucky as they aren't going to be eating any food from her most hated list! And this is when Charlie's brilliance comes to life.
                    He explains that what Lola thinks are carrots are in fact ' orange twiglets from Jupiter' and Lola tries one, declaring 'Mmm, not bad'.
                    * Peas are green drops from Greenland
                    * Mash potato is cloud fluff from the peak of Mount Fuji
                    * The fish fingers are ocean nibbles which mermaids eat all of the time.
                    Thanks to Charlie's imagination, Lola tries everything and declares her fondness for the items.

                    That is until she asks to try a tomato... stunned by this, Charlie asks if she is sure when she declares;
                    'Yes, of course, moonsquirters are my favourites.'
                    'You didn't think they were tomatoes, did you Charlie?'

                    And so Charlie's ingenuity worked and he succeeded in getting Lola to try and indeed like a range of foodstuffs where others had failed before!

                    - The illustrations and Format -

                    There is quite a lot of text in this book and is told by Charlie, the older brother who introduces the theme for the story and his sister. Most of the story is told in dialogue and there is quite a lot of 'bold' type used to stress and emphasise some of it when reading it aloud.

                    The text is rarely in the same position on each page, so not great for emergent readers if reading it alone.

                    Lauren Child's illustrations are so simple yet very effective. The children are very simply drawn almost like some of the 6 - 7 year olds I'm teaching at the moment would be happy with. She's brilliant at capturing the feelings of the children, using their facial expressions and in particular their huge eyes.

                    There are also quite a few actual photos used along with her own illustrations, not unlike the ones found on microsoft clipart.

                    The colours used are very rich and vibrant, instantly appealing to very young children.

                    Lauren Child's discussion about how she produces the illustrations: ' I use a computer for a lot of the work. I put together backgrounds made up of photographs, collages etc. After that I superimpose the figures'.

                    It is suggested that the age range that this book is suitable for is 4-8, although the subject matter is appropriate to all of those 'fussy eaters' out there of which there seems to be many based on my experience of primary school dining rooms! This would obviously be dependent upon their levels of concentration but this would appeal to many as they may recognise the characters from the tv series.

                    - My Verdict -

                    This is the second of the 'Charlie and Lola' books that I have bought.
                    The children thoroughly enjoyed it and a lot of discussion took place as a result of this book which is always a good thing. However my plans of pretending that certain food products are from Jupiter, Mount Fuji etc have been spoiled as the children now realise that it is a fib!!

                    Based on this book I will certainly be keeping an eye out for others in the series.

                    - Price -

                    My paperback, ISBN: 1-84121-602-X was £4.99
                    Amazon are selling the following used and new copies:
                    Hardcovers from £1.35
                    Paperbacks from just 97p

                    In short, it isn't surprising how this won the Kate Greenaway Medal!


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                      31.01.2007 11:01
                      Very helpful



                      Great way to get your little ones to eat new foods.

                      This story has been made into an episode for the popular Charlie and Lola series on Cbeebies. It is also the first episode on the Series One DVD.

                      ***The Author***

                      This book made this author famous by winning a Kate Greenaway medal. Lauren Child has also written and illustrated a number of other books in the series which has been brought to everyone’s attention through the television series for the BBC.

                      ***The Story***

                      This story is about a Charlie and Lola. As with all these stories the introduction is the same with Charlie telling the story.

                      “I have this little sister Lola.
                      She is small and very funny.”

                      Charlie is older than Lola and his mum often asks him to lend a hand with her. This time it is to help give her dinner, which can be very difficult as she is a very fussy eater. This story tells of how Charlie tricks her into eating certain foods that she says she will not eat. It starts by Lola saying,

                      “‘I do not eat peas or carrots or potatoes or mushrooms or spaghetti or eggs or sausages. I do not eat cauliflower or cabbage or baked beans or bananas or oranges. And I am not keen on apples or rice or cheese or fish fingers. And I absolutely will not ever never eat a tomato.’ (My sister hates tomatoes.)”

                      Charlie starts by telling her that they are having none of those foods but Lola isn’t convinced as she sees some carrots on the table. Charlie proceeds to tell her that they are really orange twiglets from Jupiter and Lola decides to try one and finds she quite likes it.

                      She is then told that the peas are green drops from the sky in Greenland and that mashed potato is cloud fluff from Mount Fuji. Of course this delights Lola, as she loves to eat cloud. Fish Fingers are next on the menu and Charlie tells her that they are ocean nibbles that mermaids eat.

                      Finally the only things left are tomatoes and Charlie is shocked to hear Lola ask for one. When he asks if she is sure, she replies,

                      “‘Yes, of course, moonsquirters are my favourites. You didn’t think they were tomatoes, did you, Charlie?’”

                      ***The Illustrations***

                      As with the other books in the series, the pictures in this book are made up from a collection of pencil drawings, and collages. This is a very clever idea and gives them a childlike feature as it looks like they have all been stuck on the page, something that most young children like to do when they are creating their own designs. The writing is big and bold and varies in size, making it more fun for children to read, as it doesn’t always keep to straight lines, but goes up and down in wavy lines at times.

                      ***My Thoughts***

                      I love the series on the telly as much as my son does and he constantly asks to watch the DVD of the first series so getting this book was a huge hit with him.

                      What makes it work so well is that the story is told from the children’s perceptive and the words and sentences that Lola uses are done in a way that any young child will understand and associate with. The grammar isn’t always the best, but this reflects on how a pre-school child would speak. I know I am constantly reminding my 4 year old of the rule that ‘I done it,’ should be ‘I did it.’

                      The pictures are delightful and I love the way that the drawings and the words are made to blend in. For example when Lola is telling Charlie what she won’t eat, the words of the foods are shown under a picture of that food, helping children to recognise that word. On another page there are 5 carrots down the side of a page with one word on each carrot to spell out, “I don’t ever eat carrots.” This format seems to work very well and my son loves to point to the words as he recites them from memory.

                      My son is a very fussy eater and we have often struggled to get him to try new things but I feel that this book has helped as it shows that eating can be fun and imagination can be used to make the food more exciting. I think this is a great book for any parent to buy for a child that is constantly turning their nose up at food that is so tasty and good for them.

                      ***Other Charlie & Lola Books***

                      I’ve Won, No I’ve Won, No I’ve Won
                      I Am Not Sleepy
                      We Honestly Can Look After Your Dog
                      Whoops It Wasn’t Me
                      My Wobbly Tooth Must Not Ever Never Fall Out
                      Snow Is My Favourite And My Best
                      But Excuse Me That Is My Book

                      ***Price & Availability***

                      This large paperback is available to buy at the recommended price of £5.99 but is available from Amazon for only £3.99

                      ISBN No. 184121602X

                      You can find lots of fun and games at www.charlieandlola.com


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                        18.01.2007 12:28
                        Very helpful



                        It might just help your fussy eater!

                        This is another delightful book in the Charlie and Lola series by Lauren Child. Most children will know the characters Charlie and Lola because of the TV series of the same name on Cbeebies, and the characters are just the same in this book.

                        Charlie is quite a sensible little boy aged about seven or eight, who is often in the position of having to look after his little sister, Lola, who I should think is about five. In this book Mum and Dad have asked Charlie to give Lola her dinner - not a difficult task in itself apart from the fact that Lola is an incredibly fussy eater!! (I have one of those at home with me so this book is quite close to my heart at the moment!) In fact, Lola is so fussy that she reels off a long list of food that she couldn't possibly eat ending with the statement that she 'will not ever never eat a tomato!'

                        Charlie can always get Lola to do things though so he sets out to make the food more exciting. When Lola sees carrots and says she doesn't like them, he tells her they are not carrots but orange twiglets from Jupiter! Suddenly they sound more appealing! Subsequently, the peas are moon drops from Greenland, the mashed potato is cloud fluff from Mount Fuji, and the fish fingers are ocean nibbles from the supermarket under the sea - and definitely a favourite with mermaids!

                        So before she knows it, Lola has eaten all her dinner, and even at the end she asks Charlie to 'pass her one of those' pointing to a tomato. Charlie is very surprised considering Lola's earlier declaration about tomatoes, until, playing along with the game, she says:

                        'moonsquirters are my favourite!'

                        And then says 'you didn't think they were tomatoes did you Charlie!'

                        In my opinion this is a delightful little story with good strong characters. Charlie is the narrator but most of the story is told through dialogue. This is quite a challenge for reading it to little ones if they know the TV series because the voices are quite distinctive. The story is accompanied by some very good pictures as well. There is a mixture of cartoon drawings and real photographs of some of the food which makes all the pages distinctive. The text is set out in an interesting way - sometimes curling and swirling all over the page, which would not be very suitable for beginner readers to attempt on their own. There are lots of different backgrounds throughout the book - for example on one page there are lots of peas in the background. I think all of these add to the overall effectiveness of the book.

                        Because my three year old is turning into a bit of a fussy eater herself, I wasn't sure about the content of the book - did I really want to read her a story about an even greater fussy eater and add to her list of dislikes? As it happens, I think that this book has slightly helped with her fussiness - at least when she is eating 'orange twiglets from Jupiter' or 'cloud fluff from Mount Fuji'! I just need to use my imagination to come up with some appealing ideas about broccoli, courgettes, peppers and mushrooms to name but a few! Any suggestions gratefully received!!

                        So overall I feel this is a very good book - both story and illustrations. The fact that my daughter already knows the characters through the TV series means that I know she is going to relate to them. Because of this I shall definitely be on the lookout for more Charlie and Lola stories.

                        This book was published by Orchard Books and has an RRP of #5.99.


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                      • Product Details

                        Series: Charlie and Lola / Lola will not eat peas. In fact, she won't eat carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs, sausages, cauliflower, cabbage or baked beans. And she will absolutely not eat a tomato. But then her older brother Charlie discovers that if peas are green drops from Greenland, and that carrots are orange twigets from Jupiter, even Lola is tempted to clear her plate! I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato is an hilarious book that picks up a familiar childhood theme and takes it to the extreme.

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