Hardcover, 160 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books
Marin’s parents are foodies (the name given to people who have a predilection for good food to obsession levels) and they are training him to be quite a food snob. His lunches are gourmet sandwiches with different fillings denoting different days of the week. For example, Monday is Marin’s favourite: cheese, kale, and ham. So he is full of hunger and anticipation when he opens up his lunch bag on Monday…only to be distraught because his sandwich is missing.
When his sandwiches continue to go missing day after day, Marin realizes he is the target of a malicious sandwich thief. He is determined to find out who it is so he can get back to his gourmet-eating lifestyle. No one is safe from Marin’s suspicions but his investigations go nowhere. Even the principal is no use (Marin turns up his nose at the greasy pizza the principal offers as a substitute) so Marin is forced, weak and hungry, to turn to his parents for help. Together they devise a plan that helps them catch the culprit and return Marin’s lunch times to peace.
This was a cute graphic novel/picturebook. I enjoyed the art and Taylor Norman’s translation of the original text (which was in French) was on point. What I will comment on though is what felt (to me) a rather cavalier attitude toward food. Maybe it’s because it’s Ramadan and I am taking a closer look at my relationship to food than I would but it felt really wrong when Marin threw the pizza the principal gave him in the trash rather than eating even though he was hungry and he had nothing else to eat. I understand this was a way of showcasing his elevated tastes but it seemed in poor taste (no pun intended) considering the numerous hungry children around the world for whom pizza, greasy or not, would be a treat beyond imagination.
Am I being unnecessarily harsh? I don’t think so. The book, as fun and witty as it is, seems to be meant for a certain privileged audience and that I do have problems with. But that’s just me. As long as you are aware that the book is about a rather spoiled and privileged kid, things ought to be fine.