The inspiration for the book initially came from children’s dinner sets, which always seemed to feature cartoon images of friendly animals. We used to pretend these little characters were real so that our little boy would rush to finish his meal and meet them.
Unfortunately, the older he grew, the fussier over food he became. Mealtimes became a worry and more than a touch disheartening when we would cook something especially for him, only for it to be turned away and rejected. So, we invented the ‘Cheeky Mole’ and meals became more of a game - who could beat the Mole and eat up all the ‘Yummy Delicious Food’ first. This is the story line the book eventually takes.
Despite our little boy’s hyper-sensitivity to specific textures and tastes however, he is still managing to enjoy a varied diet and we consider ourselves blessed because there are many children, with distressed parents, who are limited to only eating one or two different foods each day. For these children, we strongly hope that this book will encourage them to ‘gobble up’ those foods they can bring themselves to try, just as the mole would.
As this book evolved, we conducted more research into fussy eating and found many cases of parents with children who have Autism that find mealtimes a struggle. Scientific studies have found that children on the autistic spectrum are five times more likely to present challenges at meal times, such as only being prepared to try a tiny selection of foods, heavy ritualistic eating behaviours and being prone to food-related tantrums. Hopefully, by introducing the Mole and making mealtimes more of an adventure, the book can help overcome these obstacles and encourage even the most challenging eaters to try a little bit more.
The final push for us to sit down and try to spread this message via a children’s book, stems from another cause that is really close to both of our hearts: The Environment - and what we are all leaving behind for our children. A worrying 40% of food waste generated in the UK alone is currently disposed of via Landfill. When food waste is sent to Landfill it creates Methane, which has a global warming potential 21 times greater than carbon dioxide. If we eat up our food, and encourage our children to do the same, then this impact will be much, much less.
We are not envisaging to ‘change the world’ with this book, but if just one parent can enjoy sharing this book with their little one, and their mealtimes can be improved with less tantrums and less food being thrown away in the process, then we’ll be happy to have made at least one more child get the nutrients they need, whilst helping protect the World in which they are destined to grow up.
We really hope you and your little one(s) enjoy reading this story. Happy Reading… and Bon Appetit!
Kelly and Alan Green