The book cover.

Parents of picky eaters, take note. A playful new picture book just might give your little ones a gentle nudge to try something new.

In the new Peanut Butter & Brains: A Zombie Culinary Tale, young Reginald is surrounded by fellow zombies who have only one thing on their minds — brains. Brains is all they want to eat! But Reginald doesn’t want brains (or brainsssss as the zombies call them). He wants peanut butter and jelly. How can he get his zombie friends to see that they don’t have to eat just brains?

The stakes are even higher than just Reginald filling his belly and persuading his friends that there’s more to life (or, in the zombie world, death) than brains. Because when the zombies are hungry, they search their hometown of Quirkville for any brains they can find. This is not good for the townspeople!


The zombies just don’t understand how Reginald can have a difference of opinion, and he goes off on his own in search of a sandwich. But it’s not easy. Zombies aren’t allowed at the cafe; the school cafeteria has food that looks like brains; and he doesn’t have any money to buy the necessary ingredients at the grocery store.

Luckily, a chance encounter with a little girl holding a paper-bag lunch turns things around and gives him an idea for introducing his favorite food to his fellow zombies.

Debut picture-book author Joe McGee keeps the story moving with flowing and engaging text: As a father of three boys, he may know a thing or two about kids wanting to eat the same thing every day. Watercolor artwork by Charles Santoso will draw kids in. There’s a lot to look at — the zombies are both male and female, they’re a variety of ages, and they sport expressions that effectively convey a range of emotions.

Moms and dads will appreciate the book’s undertones about individuality, being true to oneself, and trying new things. Picky eaters who want pasta every day just might see themselves in Reginald or the zombies. And kids who actually do like a variety of food, but who also enjoy a fun and surprising story, will also devour this book.

Mia Geiger is a writer in the Philadelphia area. You can find her at miageiger.com and @MiaGeiger.

You can find more On Parenting essays at washingtonpost.com/onparenting, on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @OnParenting.

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