Let me just start off by saying it this way. My son doesn’t typically ask to keep library books. But the other night, after reading How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans by writer David Larochelle and artist Mark Fearing, two times mind you, he quite legitimately asked if we could keep it.
Now, I don’t care who you are, it begs a question. What is there to this children’s book that would cause him to say such an unexpected thing? My wife and I have read thousands of books to him and, while he may not want to return a book to the library right away, he rarely asks to keep them.
Let’s start with the premise. How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans pretty much sums it up. All of a sudden, during the abnormally normal dinner that included a side of green beans (do other parents actually feed their kids vegetables!?), Martha ends up finding herself the unlikely hero of a green bean gang shakeup. The green beans gang are not too happy about all those adults telling people to eat green beans and end up abducting Martha’s parents.
Martha’s parents must have been the only parents in the town who were actually trying to serve their kid green beans (which makes sense because I’m not sure I know more than one set of parents who actually do this), which must be the reason no other adults were taken hostage. Or, and more likely, the green bean gang did away with those other folk in a very uncivilized manner…cause they’re tough like that.
As you can imagine, the story takes a turn when Martha decides it’s time to once and for all…EAT GREEN BEANS! And she does. Quite a few of them. Beards, cowboy hats, and even their pointy boots. Yuck?
And now, why would my son ask to keep this book? For one thing, he hates vegetables. Not sure if he’s ever tried a green bean. So he likely found Martha quite easy to relate to in her disdain for them, as I bet most kids would. The illustrations were fun and expressive (which kind of made me want to puke up my recent side of green beans,) but carried the story very well.
At one point, a whole gang of green beans was shown front and center (thanks artist Mark!) so we took the liberty of naming all the green beans (sorry author David if they already had names). The names were terrible, of course, but it caused my son to cackle his way to a painfully post-poned bedtime.
One of the most subtle parts of the book (the very end) may have been the best. Because my son immediately said, and I quote, “Next time, the leafy green salad attacks!”
Pick up a copy at your local library or wherever books are sold. You’ll enjoy reading it (as long as a kid who hates vegetables is present).