Sometimes when a book is a spin-off from a popular brand such as Belle and Boo, the story can seem forced and contrived, leading to an unsatisfactory read. Luckily, this charming tale of Belle and her little rabbit is a delightful story in its own right, with a sweet message about how healthy food can still be yummy.
Boo acts as the smaller child in this story, determined to have cake for breakfast and determinedly turning everything else down. He’s instantly recognisable as a fussy toddler, claiming that not only is toast too crunchy, but that an egg is too ‘eggy.’ However, when Belle patiently plans a healthy meal for her toys instead, Boo agrees to help, and finds himself tempted by Belle’s recipes. But, like all children, he doesn’t want to admit he’s changed his mind and has to work out a new way to get his paws on the treats.
Sutcliffe fills the story with warm, soft drawings that suggest a simpler, slightly older time – there’s a whimsically vintage feel to the whole book. Belle and Boo carouse across the pages, supported by the subtly funny text. The understated humour makes this a pleasant book for parents to read with children, with the added benefit of making healthy eating look tasty. It’s occasionally at risk of being a little obvious with its healthy agenda, but whilst it won’t convert the fussiest children it does offer gentle encouragement. The story is a lovely bedtime read – even if it will make you hungry for vegetable soup and baked apples!