• Happy birthday Miriam Cohen (Will I Have a Friend) and Elisa Kleven (Ernst; Abuela).
  • It’s the birth date of Lois Lenski (1893-1974), Strawberry Girl, and poet e.e. cummings (1894-1962) Fairy Tales; Little Tree.
  • Happy birthday Pooh! In 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne is published.
  • Live! From Apollo 7 in space! The first live telecast beamed to earth from a spacecraft with people on it occurs in 1968.
  • So sorry for the extra keystrokes! In 2009—Sir Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web creator, apologizes for the unnecessary “//” in URLs.

October has been designated Vegetable Awareness Month and today also marks National Dessert Day. Certainly, I embrace both causes. The book of the day, Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat, brings these two holidays together in a humorous and totally satisfying story.

Like many children, Gregory was a fussy eater; he wants only fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, bread, and butter. He sounds, of course, like many a parents’ dream. But such is not the case—mainly because Gregory is a young goat. His parents excuse him from the table, and then eat the newspaper in silence. So, they take their child to the knowing Dr. Ram, who has some age-old wisdom to share. Just introduce one new food each day until Gregory eats everything!

So crafty parents that they are, they throw a shoelace into the spaghetti or a rubber heel in the string beans. And slowly Gregory develops a species-appropriate taste. Gregory, in fact, takes the term omnivore to a whole new level. After his parents go to the dump for food, he consumes eight flat tires, a barber pole, a violin, and half of a car. The latter gives him so much trouble that he reverts to his old vegetable meals—but with some wax paper thrown in for good measure.

Jose Aruego, an American born in the Philippines, and his former wife, Ariane Dewey, have taken this very clever text and added wonderful details of Gregory thinking about and consuming all kinds of food. Collaborators on many titles, Jose designs the page layout and creates the strong and energetic line drawings, while Ariane fills them in with color washes. This method has worked for them, and in books like Gregory, the Terrible Eater their partnership has worked for millions of children.

Now, weren’t we also supposed to be talking about desserts today? Well, the book has one of the funniest lines I can think of in a children’s book about desserts. Gregory asks Father Goat what they are having for dessert and here’s the answer he gets: “Ice cream,” said Father Goat. “But you have to eat the box, too.”

So if you have a picky eater who you want to entertain, or you just want to laugh at the antics of Gregory and his goat family, pick up this book today. You might even want to enjoy this light frothy concoction with desert—and, of course, you really don’t have to eat the box!

Here’s a page from Gregory the Terrible Eater:


Originally posted October 14, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Food, Humor
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Gregory, the Terrible Eater


  1. Barbara Lalicki says:

    Be still my heart! I edited this book all those years ago at Four Winds Press/Scholastic. What a joy it was to work with Jose Aruego, Arianna Dewey and the art director Julie Quan–not to mention the delightful Mitchell Sharmat, Marjori’e’s husband. We laughed and laughed. Arianna did the coloring within Jose’s fluid–almost dancing–line. I remember her telling me how she discovered in kindergarten the miracle of mixing black and white to make gray and blue and yellow to make green! She kept that childhood joy in color throughout her career. Later, on my first day at Bradbury Press/Macmillan, I was greeted in the lobby by GREGORY THE TERRIBLE EATER–one of the books they had on display as a prize on the list…because Macmillan had bought Four Winds some years earlier. It was the most welcoming sight I could imagine on the day when I was starting a new job, and of course, it made me smile, just as hearing about it again today does! Thanks, Barbara

  2. Thank you, Anita and Barbara Lalicki! A million years ago I ran a preschool, but just last night I was reciting LEO THE LATE BLOOMER and WHOSE MOUSE ARE YOU to a friend at dinner. Those Aruego/Kraus books are marvels, as is this one.

  3. Anita says:

    Barbara: Thank you for this note. I am always so happy to connect the editor/book. Well, this little gem that you worked on so many years ago is still loved! Anita

  4. Deb Marshall says:

    Oh my…I so remember this book and using it at the library many times over. Seems to me it is time to pull it out again! And National Dessert Day? Sigh….this is a good good thing, lol!

  5. Rachel G says:

    I loved this book! So cute.

  6. Monica says:

    How fun to visit your site today and relive “Gregory the Terrible Eater.” Out all the books my son and I shared when he was small, this was one of my favorites.

    So interesting to read Ms. Lalicki’s memories, too!

  7. Andie Krawczyk says:

    I’ve unfortunately never read this book, but want to after reading your description/review. The premise made me think of the book Little Pea, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace, in which a little pea needs to eat all of his candy and sweets before he can enjoy veggies for dessert. I think both story ideas are clever ways to approach a common concern for children. Little Pea is a ton of fun to read, and I’m looking forward to Gregory, the Terrible Eater.

  8. Lane Hobbs says:

    I was just remembering this book and telling my husband all about it! The illustrations are so vivid in my mind from enjoying them as a child. Now I am a Registered Dietitian and I have to laugh that this book sticks out in my memory. I believe it was featured on Reading Rainbow too.

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