Fish Potatoes

Children - Concept
49 Pages
Reviewed on 05/27/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Daniel D Staats for Readers' Favorite

If you are a parent, I am sure you have served something, whether it be a vegetable or meat, and hear your child exclaim, “Yuck! I hate _____!” John Donkers has authored a great little book about Lilly and her dislike of fish in Fish Potatoes. Without giving away the ending of the story, Lilly’s parents and her aunt figure out a way to sneak fish into Lilly’s diet. Lilly is a very typical young girl who decided she did not like fish without ever having tried fish. This is a frequent problem with children about different foods that they have decided to dislike. John has done a masterful job in presenting a very clever way to teach children to like or at least try different foods.

Fish Potatoes by John Donkers is a superb book for parents to use with their children. If you have a fussy eater, buy this book. When the book arrives, call your child(ren) to you on the sofa and draw them up on your lap or close beside you. Read this book with them and start a conversation about why it is important that they at least try a portion of the food before jumping to the conclusion that the food is yucky. John has authored a book easy for even young children to read. It should keep their interest. To make the book even more appealing, beautiful illustrations highlight the storyline. I highly recommend this book to all parents.

Jamie Michele

Fish Potatoes, written by John G Donkers and illustrated by Oneher, is a children's picture book that revolves around a little girl named Lilly and her aversion to fish. The book begins with Lilly introducing her family and their love of fish, which they occasionally even catch themselves. Lilly is active in the gathering and preparing of the meals, using recipes and methods that have been passed down for generations. The book is narrated by Lilly in the past tense and several pages in she lets the reader know, “I used to really dislike fish!” She then describes what she imagined it tasted like and why she had determined that eating the water-dwelling animal was not for her. This changes when her aunt comes to visit and applies an alternative method to punishment—which Lilly's parents employ—in order to get Lilly to try fish.

Fish Potatoes is a relatively straightforward-themed picture book that dances in the sphere of getting a child to try new things even if they think they will not like them. John G Donkers does well in allowing a reader to get to know Lilly and her family, the lifestyle they lead, and how they interact with one another. This is where Lilly's tale takes a turn that might be as hard to swallow for readers as fish is to Lilly. There are forms of punishment that Lilly is subjected to for not eating fish, even when she is willing to eat an entire plate of vegetables. Her Aunt Karie slips the fish into her mashed potatoes and Lilly truly does love it, a positive ending that parents will either find endearing or not, based on where they land on the evolution of the food journey. I was able to enjoy it based on intent over impact and my daughter did as well. The star of this book is the modern graphic artwork by Oneher and the life they breathe into Lilly and those she shares a home with. The family is diverse but ethnically ambiguous, inclusive, and the depictions are exceptional. Overall, this is a picture book worth perusing for readers who can connect with the message.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

I bet there are some foods you really don’t like. I know there are some I can’t tolerate. But it’s important to at least try different foods before we decide whether or not we like them. That was what Lilly had to learn. She hated fish, but her parents loved it, and they tried everything to entice her to try fish, believing that she would like it once she tried it. She refused and even went to bed without supper to avoid eating fish. Then Aunt Karie comes for a visit and stays for dinner. Guess what was served: you got it, fish. Lilly loved her Aunt Karie and didn’t want to have an episode over the fish in front of her. It didn’t matter, though, because Aunt Karie had a trick or two up her sleeve. Have you ever heard of fish potatoes?

John G. Donkers’ picture book story, Fish Potatoes, is a clever approach to teaching young readers about different foods and being willing to try new things before passing judgment. The story is told in simple language so young readers can follow along and perhaps read it themselves. The colorful illustrations help carry the story along. The plot is well developed and will certainly cause readers to chuckle here and there (certainly the adult reading the story will be chuckling along). The climax is a creative solution to Lilly’s aversion to fish, suggesting that perhaps the trick to learning to like something is to mix it with something else you know you like. The important thing is to show an adventurous spirit and give new things a try. Brilliant story and a fun way to present the food issue which confronts all parents who try to feed their children healthy foods.