Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Multigenerational

Eat, Leo! Eat!

by (author) Caroline Adderson

illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2015
Multigenerational, Humorous Stories, Cooking & Food
Recommended Age
3 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
Recommended Reading age
3 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Leo wants no part of sitting down with his family to eat Nonna's big, delizioso lunch every Sunday. “I'm not hungry,” he insists. Not hungry? Hmm. Clever Nonna gets an idea. She'll use a story to lure Leo to her table. And since the pasta in her soup, called stelline (little stars), is woven into the story about a boy who journeys to his grandmother's at night, it works. But again on the following Sunday, Leo doesn't want to eat. So Nonna expands her story, this time adding some chiancaredde (paving stones), the name of the pasta she's serving that day, to create a path for her character to follow. Now Leo's hooked. So much that he begins to badger Nonna every Sunday to reveal more pasta-based details of the story. And week by week, as Leo's relatives crowd around listening to Nonna and teasing Leo to get him to mangia (eat), he slowly comes to realize just how happy he is to have a place at this table. In this heartwarming picture book, award-winning author Caroline Adderson beautifully captures the love and tenderness Leo feels from his grandmother and the rest of his close-knit family through lively, true-to-life dialogue. The playful, detailed artwork by Josée Bisaillon helps bring all of them to life. This book offers a perfect framework for lessons exploring the heritage, customs and relationships of families. The unique story-within-a-story concept, along with the idea that Nonna's tale is being told cumulatively, could easily launch a storytelling assignment. Additionally, the section on pasta and the list of Italian vocabulary words make a great introduction to foreign cultures through food and language.

About the authors

Caroline Adderson is the author of Very Serious Children (Scholastic 2007), a novel for middle readers about two brothers, the sons of clowns, who run away from the circus. I, Bruno (Orca 2007) and Bruno for Real are collections of stories for emergent readers featuring seven year-old Bruno and his true life adventures.
Caroline Adderson also writes for adults and has won two Ethel Wilson Fiction Prizes, three CBC Literary Awards, as well as the 2006 Marion Engel Award given annually to an outstanding female writer in mid-career. Her numerous nominations include the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Most recently, Caroline was the Vancouver Public Library's 2008 Writer-in-Residence.
Her eight year-old son Patrick and his many friends inspire her children's writing. Caroline and her family live in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Caroline Adderson's profile page

Jos&eacutee Bisaillon a illustr&eacute plus de trente-cinq livres pour enfants et cr&eacute&eacute de nombreuses illustrations pour des magazines et des journaux. Elle a &eacutet&eacute finaliste au Prix litt&eacuteraire du Gouverneur g&eacuten&eacuteral &agrave deux reprises et a remport&eacute le prestigieux Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award pour The Snow Knows. Il s’agit du quatri&egraveme ouvrage de Jos&eacutee avec Orca, apr&egraves My Head in the Clouds et Bedtime 123 &eacutecrit par Eric Walters, un succ&egraves de librairie. Elle vit en banlieue de Montr&eacuteal avec sa famille.

Josée Bisaillon's profile page


  • Winner, CCBC Choices List, Cooperative Children's Book Center
  • Winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre

Editorial Reviews

... a story that is loaded with read-aloud temptations, creating a recipe that should be a winner in the classroom and during library story times.—Quill & Quire, starred review

The pictures by Josée Bisaillon ... are lush and rich, almost good enough to eat ... The depiction of a warm, noisy, and extended Italian family is respectful and celebratory.—Montreal Review of Books

The pages are filled with vivid illustrations adults and children ages five to eight will eat it up.—The Calgary Herald

An engaging read-aloud that will have you gathering your family for a home-cooked meal and some shared stories.—School Library Journal

This is a love letter about happy family lunches, wonderful flavorful Italian cooking and the magic of stories and storytelling.—Resource Links

The family's enjoyment of stelline (little stars), occhi di lupo (wolf eyes) and other types of pasta becomes a cumulative adventure story.—Toronto Star

Eat, Leo! Eat! showcases the ways storytelling can help us connect to the world around us, and bring us closer together as well. A lovely tale for families and friends to share.—CM Magazine

Food, family, stories: delizioso!—Kirkus Reviews

Other titles by Caroline Adderson

Other titles by Josée Bisaillon