The Peters Pick a Pickle
by Rande Spicka
illustrator by Cleoward Sy
Trafford Publishing

"Paul Peter is a pickle. Paul lives in the city with his parents and has no one to hang out with, but thinks that a new brother or sister would be a perfect playmate."

First-time author Rande Spicka loves farming and wants to get children interested in gardens as a source of healthy foods. In The Peters Pick a Pickle, another theme arises: What happens when a new baby joins a family?

Clear, colorful illustrations reminiscent of the Veggie Tales animated stories accompany the tale of young Paul Peter and his pickle family as they travel to farmer Fred's. Here they choose a cucumber to be Paul's new baby sister. This unusual take on "where babies come from" is presented in a large, casual font set off by full-page pictures that invite sharing between an adult and one or more children. This version of the stork story will surely provoke age-appropriate questions about reproduction from the intended preschool audience.

The new addition is promptly sealed in a liquid-filled jar. If she were just a cucumber, this wouldn't be troubling, but little sister Penelope has big blue eyes and golden blonde hair. This makes her appear very human, as she becomes transformed through the pickling process. The food is strongly personified in this story. They drive cars, wear glasses, etc., and pickling Penelope might disturb a younger audience or send a confusing message about the treatment of newborns. These are vegetables, after all, and Spicka's story is about gardens and food.

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