When she moved her young family to her husband's hometown in northern France, Karen Le Billon expected some cultural adjustment. But she didn't expect to be lectured for slipping her fussing toddler a snack, or to be forbidden from packing her older daughter a school lunch. Karen is intrigued by the fact that French children happily eat everything - from beets to broccoli, from salad to spinach - while French obesity rates are a fraction of what they are in North America. Karen soon begins to see the wisdom in the "food rules" that the French use to foster healthy eating habits and good manners in babies and children. Some of the rules call into question both our eating habits and our parenting styles. Other rules evoke commonsense habits that we used to share but have somehow forgotten.
Combining personal anecdotes with practical tips and appetizing recipes, French Kids Eat Everything is a humorous, provocative look at families, food, and children that is filled with inspiration and advice that every parent can use.
©2012 Karen Bakker Le Billon (P)2014 Tantor
Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.
The book was overall well written, and is true to some degree. Europeans (I know that I am one of them) take great care what to cook, how to prepare it and gladly spend more time in the kitchen, then doing other things. I cook everything from scratch and we eat pretty healthy, much cheaper then if we were to eat processed foods. I have to agree that in the States,children snack too much, drink too early juices (full of sugar) and are eating quite a bit of their meals in the car, rather than at the table. This book is definitely a valuable tool, if you are willing to try this approach in order to cure your picky eater into an eater. So, overall her story has good value, but it could have been written in two chapters!
Karen Le Billon writes adequately, nothing impressive, somewhat unimaginative. She is very repetitive and sometimes when you are listening to the book you think, wait did I go backwards in the story? That's how repetitive her story is. Also, not everyone in France eats that way, although true, the average French person eats more nutritious food, then some of my friends here in the US. I think her husband Philip sums it up nicely in the book when he says that both sides - American and European - well French, have both good points and bad points about their view of food and nourishment. What I did not appreciate in this cultural dilemma, but pointed out very clearly by the author is that French give a great deal of thought to their food. If you (doesn't matter who you are) don't accept that, you are or will not be accepted. And even if you are "accepted" - they (the French) never really make friends with you, because they just don't do THAT easily? Hm, sounds to me a bit as hypocrisy - Yes, we shouldn't overdo, over-fuzz or mindlessly eat - healthy food is hard to come by and we should respect the product. However, are we humans, friendships and future relationships not much more important than how we view food, even if we are :bien éduqués" meaning "well taught"? I rather pass on a wonderful french dinner and spend time with a friend or a new friend to make, than snob them because they don't appreciate their food the french way.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! HORRIBLE narration. I almost cried when I heard her French, it's terrible, ruins the whole book. She is an ok reader for English, but her French which obviously was not "edited" or "rehearsed" really takes the fun out of the book. Therefore I would NOT recommend this book as an audible book. I really think that Audible should screen their readers when they read in different languages!
No, we get it.
Due to the narration I would NOT recommend this book. Read it in print! Some valuable advise in the book.
Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.
This book was a great read, even if you do not have children. I learned much and was engaged from the first page. This is a well written and insightful book about not only food, but manners and cultural differences
I enjoyed how the author coped, wrote about, and expanded her experience of living in France and eating.
The author, of course.
Eating while sitting, eating a little bit of everything, eating vegetables. The socialization of dining. I could continue ....
I hope this author will write a second book. I would read it with relish.
The narrator is not French. I am not French, either, but even limited junior high school French classes gave me the ability to recognize a butchered French accent. It became a bit painful toward the middle/end of the audio book.
This book changed my approach to feeding my toddler in important ways!
I decided to listen to this book after I finished Bringing Up Bebe. I saw reviews saying this book was better. I didn't find that was the case for me and I found it hard to relate to the author. If I had to summarize this book in a few words it's "How to try and teach your kids not to be picky eaters when you are also a picky eater". As someone who is not a picky eater and is excited about food I found the author's story to be irritating. Of course you're not going to have adventurous kids if you refuse to eat most everything.
The most interesting part for me was how difficult it was for her daughter to fit into French school society. And inversely when they moved back to Canada how much of an adjustment it was the other way. It's a good lesson for parents thinking about moving to other countries with their kids. It's a rough adjustment period for everyone, including the children, and children are not social experiments. It seemed a little cruel to totally change their environment just to move back to Canada in a year. I'm sure that their kids will have gained something from their year in France but I do feel somewhat bad for their daughters and the emotional toll it must have taken on them and the family.
Her french pronunciation was terrible and her attempts at french accents often sounded Indian or just totally off base. As someone who studied french in High school listening to her pronunciation of French words was like nails on a chalkboard. She also could not pronounce anecdote, which drove me crazy.
If she managed to enact any change at her daughter's schools back in Canada.
All in all, if you are a middle class/upper middle class Urbanite/Foodie I think you may enjoy Bringing Up Bebe more than this book. I think the author's voice and experiences resonated with me much more than Le Billon's did.
My 2.5 year old started eating better after only 3 days of trying the food rules. We still have a way to go but she is now eating things like quinoa, broccoli, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, and steak without struggle. Slowly introducing more foods. I'm not sure where I got off track as she ate everything as a baby, but this book really helps you get back on track.
Fun book, well written, and an easy read, but also educational and insightful about the differences between French and American eating.
My only complaint is that the narrator's pronunciation of certain words is really annoying... She pronounces "our" as "arrr" like a pirate, and adds an extra T in "anecdote" to make "antecdote" bizarrely. Also her French pronunciation isn't great at times (she pronounces tante as "tan-tay")... But that is a minor critique of the audible narrator. The book itself is great.
I loved this book!!! So many wonderful points. Thank you for the COOKBOOK! Points I love that are working in my house: If you don't like (vegetable) - you just haven't tried it enough. It's delicious and you will learn to like it. Snacks are a dirty word in my house now, this has been the hardest rule to enforce and stick with but it makes all the difference in the world. If your kids are hungry, they will eat a good meal. I never wanted my kids to be hungry, so I chased them around trying to shovel food in the mouths. What a relief it has been to deny snacks and have hungry children at meal time. Dinner time sucked in our house before this book. Now that we have read this book and are puting this into play - dinner time is actually becoming enjoyable. We also never make threats with regard to food. No more, "If you don't eat, you are going to bed." (It didn't really work anyway!)
I love Cris Dukehart!!! However, at times the recording sounded like an electronic voice. No fault of Cris's.
Karen Le Billon is hard headed! Her inflexibility drove me a little crazy but even she was won over :) Thank you for writing this book, I have a 4.5 & 1 year old and it has changed our lives. Thank you for showing me that dinner time can be enjoyable...I actually look forward to it now.
This was a very enjoyable book and I have no doubt that it proposes a much better way of eating, even a better way of living, than the mainstream North American culture and eating methods. It borders a bit on the French worship side but I don't blame her. I wish the narrator's French accent was better (I found it to be a bit trite instead of entertaining or endearing).
I wonder if, really, this method of training a child to eat and leading a family in a more holistically healthy lifestyle is possible in North America. I see the merits, but it seems so difficult unless there was a mainstream change, which seems unlikely since the fast (or fake) food culture is so deeply entrenched into our society.
Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable story with some great ideas.
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