“Theodore thinks everything is a potential meal. Until something new approaches his cave. A boy. Has Theodore found a new favorite food? Or something more?” This is the way Adam Lehrhaupt and Scott Magoon (the illustrator) introduce their new picture book I Will Not Eat You, as seen on the inside flap of the book cover. I Will Not Eat You is a book about an unexpected friendship, as Theodore, a dragon (although it is not revealed that he is a dragon until later in the book) lives in a quiet cave, but isn’t hungry. He passes up on the opportunity to come out and eat the bird, wolf, and then tiger that all stop by his cave, telling them, “I will not eat you.”
Later, however, a boy stops by and begins to pester Theodore, just as he is getting hungry, and provokes Theodore to come out of his cave and chase him, until the boy falls and starts to laugh. Next thing you know, Theodore begins to laugh as well, beginning a new friendship between the two.
I Will Not Eat You is a simple, but fun book about an unexpected friendship between two totally different creatures, making it an almost humorous book to enjoy. For example, the book ends with “‘I can always eat him later’, thought Theodore.” The book plays perfectly into a child’s playfulness and joyful attitude, making the boy a character many children can connect with. I Will Not Eat You also teaches a great lesson about stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, as Theodore was comfortable in his nice, quiet cave, but learned to step outside of it to fully enjoy the friendship and company of the boy.
This is also a great book that would help a child learn about animals. Children would enjoy learning and following along with the animal sounds made by the bird, the wolf, and the tiger. It may also help teach the relative sizes of these animals, as each animal that passes by gets increasingly large, and for older readers, the order of a food chain.
What makes this book fun to read is its repetition, and then the unexpected ending. Each animal that walks by has the same interaction with Theodore, giving the book a familiar, predictable structure for children to enjoy. What I love most about I Will Not Eat You is Magoon’s fun illustrations, and more specifically, his use of color. His use of different colors help add to the story and advance the plot, as he begins with a monochromatic pink-ish tone the early morning sunset, but later transitions through the yellow of the morning and the blue of the afternoon to get to the darker colors of the night. The best part, however, is the juxtaposition between his dark, red hues of the night, to the colorful, bright page that begins Theodore’s new friendship with the boy. It’s interesting to note that this is the first page that uses a whole variety of bright, vibrant colors, as most of the previous pages were characterized by monochromatic, single hues.
Fans of Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Hungry Caterpillar will especially enjoy watching Theodore interact with the different animals that pass by, as Theodore is on the hunt for something to eat (almost like a blend of those two classic children’s books!). However, any child will enjoy this humorous story about friendship and animals, as told through beautiful colors and illustrations.
Post by Joyce Hwang