Don't Eat That!

A Wolfe Stew Book Review

I love picture books and so am thrilled to review one today.  Picture books are every Leader of Littles' dream.  I don’t care how old you are, if you’re willing, you can always learn something from a picture book.  They are little gems full of knowledge, art, and entertainment.  You have a short amount of time to get the message across, and creativity must shine through. 

For picture book reviews, the format will remain much the same as the chapter book format with one addition: Artwork Description.
I’ll alert you to potential spoilers with *asterisks* surrounding the header. 

Target Audience

If you enjoy humor, puns, and persistence, Don’t Eat That! is a must-read for you.  This enjoyable book, told in cartoon format, will have you laughing out loud while encouraging you to return to your unresolved frustrations.

While any student or teacher is likely to connect with this story, those who have experienced frustrations in problem-solving and emotional reactions to learning will especially connect to this story.

We think this book would be appropriate to read aloud to learners around the ages of 3-6 with independent reading encouraged for ages 7-10.   Useful as a springboard into a multitude of learning opportunities or discussion topics for readers of all ages. 

Lexile Level: AD500L (Adult-Directed Age Range 3-5)

Leader/Learner Summaries

Print these pictures.  Display the "Learner" card on a suggested reading bulletin board and paste the "Leader" card in a folder to remind you of this book when you're planning a related lesson.

A "Don't Eat That!" summary tailored for the leaders of littles.

A "Don't Eat That!" summary tailored for learners.

Artwork Description

Drew Sheneman, also the illustrator, portrays cartoon characters expressively and humorously using pencil and watercolor textured by shading and cross-hatching.  Occasionally, paint splatters appear creating a colorful and playful effect.


A forested area on the outskirts of a modern-day major city.  The entire book takes place within the time frame of one day, ending at dusk.

Main Characters

1. Gertie – Determined, resourceful, and helpful
2. Bear – Big, brown, grumpy, and clueless

Point of View

From a third-person objective point of view, the entire story is told in a cartoon format.  Gertie speaks in speech bubbles and Bear in onomatopoeia.  Narration exists only through illustrations.


Bear v. Environment: Bear is hungry but doesn’t know how to get his own food.
Girl v. Bear: Girl wants to help Bear but faces obstacles with communication and emotions.
Girl v. Self: Is it worth her frustration to help Bear when she can earn her achievement through other means?


Learning 📑 Overcoming frustrations 😤 Relationships 🤼

Our Favorites


  • The Mrs.: Bear.  He’s unexpected.  Who would expect to see a bear not knowing what to eat?  He’s clueless, but still tries.  He’s sensitive and confused, yet still determined.  My heart aches for him; I just want to jump in the book to help a bear out. 
  • The Mr.:  Gertie.  She is trying so hard, maybe too hard.  You can tell she really cares about Bear, even if he is impossible.  She shows us how to take a break when we’re frustrated as well as how to come back and try again.


  • The Mrs.: “You could have just said ‘No thank you’!” (Gertie in Don’t Eat That)
  • The Mr.: “I’m sorry, big guy.  I didn’t mean to be so unbearable…get it?” (Gertie in Don’t Eat That)


  • Manners: Prior to the Mrs.’ favorite quote, Gertie decides she’s going to find another animal to help to earn her Wildlife Buddy Badge.  The scene surrounding the quote features a porcupine walking away and Gertie, covered in quills, saying, “You could have just said ‘No thank you’!”
  • Apology: Prior to the Mr.’s favorite quote, Gertie and Bear (having both gone their separate ways) find themselves on opposite sides of the same tree.  His grumbling stomach alerts Gertie to his presence.  They each glance around the tree and notice one another.  Next, comes the apology, “I’m sorry, big guy.  I didn’t mean to be so unbearable…get it?”

About the Author – Drew Sheneman

This syndicated cartoonist lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.  His sense of humor, while evident in the book, becomes more pronounced when browsing his comics, interviews and website.
Currently, Sheneman draws cartoons (mostly of a political nature) for The Star Ledger - New Jersey’s largest newspaper.  In fact, at 23, award-winning Sheneman became the youngest full-time editorial cartoonist in the country.  According to an interview with the Washington Post in 2010, Sheneman hoped to branch out into writing children’s books (dreams do come true) and creating concept art for film and video games.

Don’t Eat That is Sheneman’s second children’s book.  The first, Nope!, features a baby bird who is not (yet) ready to soar.

Academic Activities

  1. Language Usage – Idioms; Homophones; Onomatopoeia; Puns
  2. Writing Formats – Cartoons
  3. Reading Comprehension – Inferencing; Cause and effect
  4. Social Studies – Girl scouts (and other community-building organizations for kids)
  5. Science – Eastern American Warbler; Northern Brown Bear; Habitats
  6. Math – Practice measurement and ratios by making smoothies.
  7. Art – Directed drawing of bears; Cartooning; Study of line; Cross-hatching techniques; Watercolor techniques; Communicating expression
  8. Music – Tie in to Going on a Bear Hunt.
  9. STEM – Use as a discussion tool for reaching frustration levels and taking breaks.

Websites to Explore

  1.   Drew Sheneman’s Website (Kid-friendly drawings)
  2.   Connect New Jersey (Political Cartoons)

We'd Love to Hear from You!

You've read this book:

  1. What was your favorite part?
  2. How did you use it with your learner?
  3. What connections did you make to it?

You haven't read it (yet):

  1. What part of this book intrigues you?
  2. Does it remind you of any other book?
  3. What's your favorite book to teach one of the above academic skills?
We're looking forward to reading your thoughts!  

At Your Service,
Offering Samplings of Life by a Husband and Wife

Interested in reading more of our thoughts on things?  Then you're looking for our Reviews page.  This is where we share all our thoughts on things and look forward to hearing your thoughts on things too.


  1. Cavna, Michael. “Exit Interview: Buyout in hand, Star-Ledger cartoonist Drew Sheneman plans a career ‘reinvention’.” The Washington Post, Dec. 2010,
  2. “Drew Sheneman Illustration.” http://www.drewsheneman.net
  3. “Drew Sheneman: The Star-Ledger.”,
  4. Sheneman, Drew. Dont Eat That. Penguin Putnam Inc, 2018.


  1. Affluent Living IncFebruary 20, 2020

    Thanks for this review, its well thought out and enjoyable to read

    1. Thank you for your kind words. And it's good to see you here! We're SO glad you came by for a visit. :)


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