The Little Kids’ Table by Mary Ann McCabe Riehle

The Little Kids’ Table by Mary Ann McCabe Riehle
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Genre: Childrens, Holiday, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Everyone knows that the little kids table is the place to be for any holiday or family gathering. They just know how to have fun! This silly, rhyming story follows a group of rambunctious cousins from table setting to dessert. A universal theme, The Little Kids Table will have kids–and parents!–howling with laughter.

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The rhymes in this picture book were so much fun to read. Not only did they make me chuckle, they captured the feeling of sitting at the kids’ table perfectly. While the characters enjoyed having their own separate table from the grownups, I think their descriptions of what it was like to eat a holiday meal with their siblings and cousins just out of earshot of the grown-ups can be appreciated by people who didn’t like that experience so much. Their enthusiasm was contagious, but they were also honest about the drawbacks of separating kids from adults as well.

There was only one scene I wished had been written differently, and it had to do with the young characters purposefully messing around with the food on the plates of other children who left their table. Due to how many kids have food allergies or are on strict diets for other medical reasons these days, I’m not personally comfortable spreading the message that it’s acceptable to pull this kind of prank. While I definitely do see the humor in that from a storytellers point of view, I’d want to make it clear to the children I love that actually adding spoonfuls of other dishes to someone else’s plate can make some people very sick.

The ending of this tale was heartwarming. All of the characters came from a huge, boisterous family, so getting everyone to sit down and eat together was no easy task. After being reminded over and over again to mind their manners and at least try some of the stinky vegetables on the menu, it was nice to see how the adults reacted once the meal was more or less finished and everyone gathered together again.

The Little Kids’ Table is the perfect thing to read right before heading off for a big holiday meal no matter which table you might end up sitting at.

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