I stumbled across this book in our school library. It was lying face up, and I couldn’t resist such a terrifying title juxtaposed with an adorable little crocodile.
Little Achilles, the crocodile, has grown tired of eating his morning bananas. And despite his mother’s protestations, he turns up his long nose and says, “…I’d really like to eat a child.”
But his mom and dad aren’t buying it. They’re tempting Achilles with other treats like tasty sausages.
Little Achilles isn’t swayed.
His parents concoct another goody that appeals to his sweet tooth. Chocolate cake!
Tempting little Achilles only for a moment. He insists, “Today, I’d really like to eat a child.”
So, feeling a little weak from lack of food, little Achilles strikes out for the river because a swim will take his mind off not getting what he wants. Lo and behold! He finds a child!
But let me remind you that Achilles is, well—little. What could possibly go wrong?
Think back to how you yearned to be old enough, strong enough, tall enough, fast enough, etc….to do the things you wanted to do. Kids will find it easy to empathize with little Achilles and still laugh at his interaction with the child by the river. And the ending?
Well, little Achilles has a plan to get bigger, and then child—you’d better watch out!
If you don’t recognize the author and illustrator, it’s most likely because they’re both French. First published in France in 2004, under the original title: Je mangerais bien un enfant by l’école des loisirs, it holds its own against today’s quirky picture books with a humorous (and perhaps a little dark) twist.
TITLE: I’d Really Like to Eat a Child
AUTHOR: Sylviane Donnio
ILLUSTRATOR: Dorothée de Monfried
TRANSLATOR: Leslie Martin
PUBLISHER: Random House (American printing), 2007
AGE RANGE: preschool-1st grade
THEMES: wanting to do something you’re not quite ready to do, eating to get big and strong
For more perfect picture books, check out Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday listing.