Monday, March 29, 2010

Little Pea - Spinach Salad

"'Spinach!' squealed Little Pea. 'My favorite!'" -  Little Pea, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace
When I brought home Little Pea (written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace) my six year old lit up and said, "I remember this book from preschool! My teachers read it to us." I guess he doesn't remember checking it out from the library and reading it with me. In any case, the reason I brought it home in the first place was because although I knew I'd read this book with my older son, I also knew that my four year old is too young to remember it from our first go-round. So it is with the younger child: so often when we're at the library I pass over books that I know we have read, completely forgetting that my kids (especially my younger son) may not remember them the way I do. And there is nothing--nothing at all--wrong with rereading books.

Little Pea is the story of Little Pea, the only child in a family that resembles many families except, well, they're peas. As in the vegetable. Little Pea is a typical kid who enjoys playing with his friends and spending time with his parents. He also--like many kids--happens to be a picky eater. When it's time for dinner Little Pea just does not want to eat his...candy. But he has to eat his candy because if he doesn't eat his candy he can't have his favorite dessert. Which happens to be...a bowl of spinach! This whimsical story with a twist on the typical picky eater tale is great fun for kids, who may recognize themselves in Little Pea. Jen Corace's illustrations are "simple" (in the words of my six year old) but she does an excellent job of conveying Little Pea's moods, whether he's joyously playing with Papa Pea, snuggling with Mama Pea or disgustedly eating his candy.

We did not make candy (much to my sons' disappointment). Instead, we made a variation of Little Pea's favorite dessert:

Spinach Salad

This salad makes a great lunch or light dinner. I used our favorite salad ingredients that I happened to have on hand.


  • baby spinach
  • Craisins
  • avocado
  • carrot
  • green onions
  • hardboiled egg 
  • turkey bacon
  • almond slivers
  • parmesan cheese
  • salad dressing (use your favorite)
  • red wine vinegar (optional)
  • salt and pepper
1. Boil the egg(s) and begin cooking the bacon (I cooked mine in the microwave).

2. Wash your spinach. Add a generous amount to your salad bowl. (Eyeball it; the amount I use is based on what I know my family of four will consume.)

3. Wash the carrots and onions. I peeled the carrot and allowed my six year old to make carrot shavings with the vegetable peeler. I chopped the onions and added them to the bowl.

4. Peel and slice the avocado and add to bowl.

5. Add the almonds and Craisins.

6. Crumble the cooked bacon and add to bowl.

7. Grate cheese into the salad bowl.

8. Peel the boiled eggs and slice. Add to bowl.

9. Add salt and pepper to taste.

10. Add vinegar and salad dressing of your choice. Toss everything together before serving.

I like to think that Little Pea would approve of this enhanced version of his bowl of spinach. My family certainly enjoyed it; it made for a nice dinner on a warm spring day. 

Fans of Little Pea may want to check out Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace's other books, Little Hoot and Little Oink--both of which offer more fun twists on typical childhood dilemmas.


Mary Ann Dames said...

Have you seen Duck! Rabbit!, also by Amy Krouse Rosenthal? It is a fun optical illusion.

Katie Fries said...

Mary Ann,

Not only have I seen Duck! Rabbit!, but my older son brought home a duck/rabbit that he made in school last week for April Fool's Day. Great little activity that goes well with the book.