Sunday, April 1, 2007

Arthur-Famed Author/Illustrator Takes on Childhood Obesity

Famed childhood authors Rosemary Wells (Max & Ruby) and Marc Brown (Arthur) have teamed up to tackle the family obesity problem in this country through a new children's book The Gulps. About 60 million Americans, or 30% of the adult population, are considered obese by the U.S. government. Since 1980, overweight rates have doubles with children and triples with teens, according to the Center for Disease Control. Statistically, 45 out of every 100 elementary-aged children are overweight or obese. Created over dinner on the Vineyard, the book is written by Wells, a Connecticut resident and self-proclaimed vegetable addict. In fact, one of her daughters is a chef and the other is an organic farmer. Illustrated by Brown, the book tells a tale of an overweight family off for a roadtrip. The plump, sedentary family, with the exception of the youngest daughter, packs the car with cartons of junk food and even stops at a drive-thru fast food restaurant for a snack. The Gulps adventure hits a roadblock when the car refuses to go. The youngest child declares the family is just to fat to roll. A friendly farmer family invites the Gulps to stay at their home and have dinner - vegetable fare. The family is horrified but through a series of more mishaps in the farm and at a country fair, the Gulps learn that exercise and healthy foods make for more family fun. The book is an innovative way to tackle nutrition and obesity with children in preschool & kindergarten.
The hardcover book will hit bookstores this week, (Little Brown Young Readers, $16.99). The book can be ordered online at or

I posed questions to Brown about his new book with Wells, his beloved Arthur character, and his love of Massachusetts inside the March issue of Bay State Parent magazine.

Parent: How do you think The Gulps can help to combat this country's childhood obesity problem?
Marc: "We hope that by reaching young children, perhaps it will help them think early on about the choices they are making."
Parent: Truthfully, what is your junk food of pleasure?

To find our Marc's answer and to read more of the interview visit:

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