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Let's Read: D.W. The Picky Eater

Written and illustrated by Marc Brown


  1. Activities
  2. Handouts
  3. Teaching Tips
  4. Learning Activities


Children will have tried one new food or will know one food they want to try after the lesson.


D.W. the Picky Eater, by Marc Brown. Little Brown and Company, 
New York, 1995.    ISBN 0-316-11048-5. $5.95. 
Note:  The book is for children ages four to eight.


Draw a Picture; paper, crayons, stickers

Seeing Isn't Tasting

  • Jicama, lime (to put on the cut jicama), kiwi, cucumber, turnip, pineapple.  You will need both one uncut fruit or vegetable to show the children and samples of each for them to taste.  You may want to use other kinds of fruits and vegetables that children in WIC do not usually eat.
  • Paper plates, plastic spoons
  • Paper towels or napkins
  • Hand wipes or liquid hand cleaner
  • Stickers



Books for Parents to Read at Home:  Contact your local library.  Find out if D.W. the Picky Eater or other D.W. books by Marc Brown are available.  If they are not, get a list of books on nutrition for children from three to five years of age.  You may want to put a copy of D.W. the Picky Eater in your lending library for clients to use.

Teaching Tips:       

Use a different voice for each character in the book.  It enlivens the story, and it makes reading even more fun for children.  They love the extra drama it adds.

While reading the book to the class, you will want to stop and ask questions.  Suggested questions are listed in this lesson.  You can use as many of them as needed for your class and can add your own.  Also, give the children time to ask questions and comment on the book.  Their input is very important.


Learning Activities:

1. Show the cover of the book to the class.  Tell them that Marc Brown wrote and illustrated the book.  You can ask the class to name the foods drawn on the two pages immediately after the cover.  You may also want to ask the class where they think D.W. is sitting in the illustration on the title page of the book.

2. While reading the first two pages of the book, ask the children to name the foods D.W. will not eat.  (They are shown in the pictures.)  Ask the children questions such as:

Do you eat any of the foods D.W. does not like?  Which ones do you eat?

3. After reading the next five pages (starting with D.W. stepping into the pool and ending with her eating at her friend's house), ask the class:

How is D.W. trying to avoid eating foods she does not like? 

4. The next two pages show D.W. eating in a restaurant.  Ask the class questions such as:

  • What happened when D.W. pounded her fist into her salad dish?
  • Should D.W. have done this?
  • What did her father say?                      
  • What do you think will happen next?

5. While reading the next six pages (from D.W. with the sitter though D.W. sitting at eye level with the table), ask the class questions such as:

  • What did D.W. and Arthur have for breakfast?
  • Have you ever gotten a paper umbrella at a restaurant?
  • What are D.W.'s parents doing in the yard?
  • What are the birds eating?
  • Do people and birds eat the same thing?
  • Have you seen this picture before?  (The picture of D.W. sitting at eye level to the table was also on the title page of the book.)  Where is D.W. sitting?


6. As you finish reading the book, ask questions such as:

  • What is in the Pirate Pita Pocket? 
  • What is a Little Pig in a Blanket?  Can you guess?
  • Has anyone eaten a bagel?  What is it?
  • What is a griddle cake?
  • Would you choose the Little Bo Peep Pot Pie?  What do you think is in it?
  • Do you like milk?
  • What are the other people in the restaurant eating?
  • What do think would happen if D.W. had a tantrum in the restaurant this time?
  • Did D.W. like the Little Bo Peep Pot Pie?
  • Did D.W. drink her milk?
  • What was in the Little Bo Peep Pot Pie?
  • Did D.W. really not like spinach or did she just think that she did not like it?
  • Why is D.W.'s brother, Arthur, smiling (on the last page of the book)?

7. Pick one of these activities to do in class:

Draw a Picture:  Pass out two pieces of paper to each child.  Give them crayons.  Ask the children to draw a picture of a food D.W. does not like, but she can try.  Then ask the children to think of a food that they do not like, but they will try.  Ask them to draw a picture of it. 

Give each parent a sticker.  They can give it to their child at home after they taste a new fruit or vegetable.

Seeing Isn't Tasting:  Ask everyone to clean their hands before they eat.  Pass out the spoons, plates and napkins while they clean their hands.  Ask the children, Can you look at a food and know how it will taste?  After they answer, show them the uncut fruits and vegetables.  Hold one of them up, then ask the children to tell you how they think it will taste.  After they all guess, give them a sample to taste.  Ask them how their guess matched the real taste.  Repeat this with each of the fruits and vegetables.  Give a sticker to each child who tasted a new food.

When you finish all the fruits and vegetables, ask the children, Can you tell how a food will taste by seeing it?


8. Give the parents the two attached handouts.  Go over them with the parents and answer any questions they may have. 

Here are additional comments on the Let's Read at Home handout:

Borrow D.W. the Picky Eater by Marc Brown from your local library.  Read it again with your child.  You may also want to get the other books about D.W. from the library

A child who reads books regularly at home learns to read more easily in school.

Let your child pick out a new food at the grocery store for the family to try.  Let her help to prepare and serve it to the extent her ability allows.

Helping to select, prepare or serve food is one way to encourage a child to eat it.

Turn disliked foods into fancy foods to make them more appealing.  All it takes is a little imagination. 

To avoid fighting with their child about food, parents can turn eating into a game.  One way to do this is to decorate food.

Parents should let their child know what the game is.  Explain to them that the line of rice is the earth; then show them the broccoli trees growing in it.  Or let her help to make the fancy food.  Decorating food is fun and may encourage the child to eat.

Last updated March 31, 2011