Sonderbooks Book Review of

I Do Not Eat Children

by Marcus Cutler

I Do Not Eat Children

by Marcus Cutler

Review posted March 4, 2024.
Little, Brown and Company, 2024. 36 pages.
Review written March 4, 2024, from a library book.
Starred Review

The second I saw the cover of this book, I knew our library needed many copies. I'm afraid I do like picture books about things (or, yes people) getting eaten. So much so, I made a Pinterest board "Someone Gets Eaten," with a companion board, "Eating Thwarted."

Okay, stop right now if you don't like spoilers for picture books.

Because for the sake of parents, I need to tell you exactly what's in this book. First, it does fit the first of those boards.

And this book might have gone just a tiny bit too far, even for me. I think it's the sweet little chubby baby that might be a step too extreme. But I still think it's fun and still showed it to co-workers.

And it's not only a book about a monster! It's also a counting-down book. The counting isn't done for you, but on the first spread, you've got a monster in the middle of ten children (including the aforementioned baby), all with some kind of prop. The monster says, "I do not eat children."

On the next page, there's a child missing. Their prop is in the place where they stood, but you might want to count to be sure there are fewer. Now the monster is saying, "I would never eat a child." The kids are carrying on with what they were doing, some interacting with each other, but everybody ignoring the monster.

And each spread has one fewer child. More protestations from the monster.

And just when you're thinking that surely there's some different explanation, surely the monster is telling the truth and isn't actually eating the children (and who will save the BABY???!!!), with four children left, the monster gives an enormous BURP that takes up two spreads -- and the big green speech bubble includes additional clothes and items we saw from the missing children.

However, after they all disappear one by one and the very last child is left, the only one whose eyes pointed anywhere near the monster -- she tells us that she eats liars.

And on the last page, the Monster is missing with his striped pants in his place.

So -- Parents, I want you to be aware that this book will be scary for some little ones. Some children do get eaten. Completely off the page. But still.

Now, mind you, that monster gets eaten, too! He totally gets what he deserves! You can also tell your kid that the girl let out all the other children before she ate the monster. (Or you can try.)

So a lot of kids, especially older ones -- and most adults -- will find this book funny. It's even a great excuse to practice counting! But you need to judge where your child will fall on that spectrum. I personally wouldn't try this book in storytime because of that doubt. Which is sort of a shame, because if you can get in the right mindset, it's a really fun book with lots to notice. And you can teach about unreliable narrators and seeing from someone else's perspective!

This book reminds me of Lucy Cummins' A Hungry Lion or: A Dwindling Assortment of Animals, which I wholeheartedly love, and at least that one doesn't have a baby being eaten. But this one is a whole lot of fun, too -- and I still say that cover is unbeatable!