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Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli
by Barbara Jean Hicks
Illustrated by
Sue Hendra

Monsters don't eat broccoli...or do they?
And if they don't eat broccoli, what DO they eat?

In this ode to imagination (and vegetables),
a group of grinning, brightly colored Godzillas
gleefully rampage across the pages to prove just how far
their distaste for broccoli stretches.

These goofy, toothy monsters will delight
even the most timid of young readers.


WOW! Click on the cover to see MONSTERS DON'T EAT BROCCOLI brought to life in toe-tapping animation. Thanks, Cecilia Olivera-Hillway!


Enjoy these coloring pages created by illustrator Sue Hendra for Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli.
Each FREE downloadable picture fits on one sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper. Make sure to set your printer for landscape for the first one and portrait for the others.

Thanks, Sue, for the fabulous coloring pages!

Click on the image for a full page picture to print and color.

For my Broccoli book launch in August 2009, I created a Broccoli Fan Cookbook from recipes sent by friends and fans. The limited edition original was a 20-page mini (4-1/4 x 5-1/2 inches), but I've created a printable, 5-page 8-1/2 x 11 inch version for readers to download. Some recipes appear more healthy than others, but of course that depends on your dietary needs. All will help you get your daily dose of five fruits and veggies a day. All have been tested by the senders. All, I'm told, are delicious! You'll also find fun facts about broccoli.

Thanks, Broccoli Fans, for the delectable recipes!
Click on the image
for broccoli recipes.

Click here for current links to the 14 interviews, reviews, podcasts, book trailers
and other fun BROCCOLI stuff that were part of my first ever cyber book tour.

Highlights below:


Terry Pierce talks to Barbara about children and healthy eating on her blog, Write Revise Repeat.

Sherrie Petersen talks to Barbara about the switch from writing romance novels to writing children’s books on her blog, Write About Now.

Jaime Temairik Hedquist, who is an artist/illustrator herself, talks to BROCCOLI illustrator Sue Hendra for the MSN book blog, BOUND, and features Sue’s artwork on her Readergirlz blog, CocoaStomp.

Little Willow conducts a three-way interview with illustrator Sue Hendra, editor Erin Clarke, and Barbara on her blog, Bildungsroman.

Terry Pierce talks to editor Erin Clarke about matching up author and the illustrator in another Write Revise Repeat blog interview.

Suzanne Lieurance conducts a radio interview with Barbara about BROCCOLI, her life, and writing on Book Bites for Kids (Blog Talk Radio).


The Best BROCCOLI Video Review Ever:
Master monster reviewers Gene Sisko and Roger Elbert
go two thumbs up for BROCCOLI!


The Best BROCCOLI Audio Review Ever:
Mark & Andrea for
Just One More Book
The Best BROCCOLI Print Review Ever:
Elizabeth Bird for
Fuse 8 Productions

Review Excerpts:

  • "With a toe-tapping beat and loud, splashy spreads, this paean to mealtime chaos will charm small monsters everywhere.... Too much fun to limit to kids who don't like broccoli." Publishers Weekly

  • "Hendra’s adorable illustrations have an almost pop-art zeal." Booklist

  • "The vibrant gouache illustrations capture the silly playfulness of the text.... A fine serving for story time." Kirkus Reviews

  • "More fun than a book with a message should ever hope to be." Fuse 8 Productions

  • "Gasping, gobbling, grinning, crunching and belching, seven sherbet-coloured monsters revel in outrage at their broccoli-loving readers in this rhyming enticement to eat green." Just One More Book

  • "Hilarious [and] imaginative..." Carolina Parent

  • "An eye-catching, colorful book...about how to make eating healthy food fun." Fort Worth Star-Telegram

  • "...will make little ones think twice about turning up their noses at vegetables." The Edmond Sun

  • "...a wonderfully written story about imagination and healthy food choices.... excellent for reading aloud, choral reading and even acting out." Sacramento Book Review

From Pictures to Words and Back Again:
Wherein the Author Reveals
How Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli Came to Be

Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli has an interesting history—already! My editor at Knopf came across a book dummy in the offices of Random House England for a project that had been contracted and then abandoned. (A book dummy is a prototype that an author-illustrator puts together to market a story, comprised of text, sketches and two or three finished pieces.)

My editor loved the illustrations, but the text had been written for a pop-up novelty book, which she wasn't interested in doing. When she got back to the States, she sent me a copy of the dummy and asked if I could come up with a story for the pictures. Normally, the story comes first and the editor looks for an illustrator after the text has been contracted, so this was highly unusual.

The original story was about the things that monsters eat, and on one page the monsters were having a "food fight" with trees that reminded me of broccoli. I wanted Sue to be able to use the sketches she'd already completed, so I wrote a text that was about monsters eating but from a completely different perspective. I changed the order of the drawings, left out a couple of pages and added several others with suggestions for illustrations.

When Sue got the text, she immediately picked up on the healthy eating theme, which is funny because what I thought I was writing about was a healthy imagination! She dressed up a couple of the monsters in spots and stripes that identify them on the last two pages as kids pretending to be monsters--and of course they aren't eating broccoli, they're eating trees. Then she cleverly added endpapers that complete the transformation of "monster" food at the front into healthy snacks at the back: buildings become slices of Swiss cheese, boulders become grapes, wheels become tomato slices and broccoli, of course, become "yummy, gummy trees."

In the end, it was a case of Sue's illustrations inspiring my text, which inspired her final illustrations--from pictures to words and back again.

Before I started working on the text, Sue sent me the sketches above to help me get a sense of her goofy, hungry monsters, which inspired a very goofy, silly text! The final artwork for MONSTERS DON'T EAT BROCCOLI is even more vibrant and fun.

All text and images on this website © Barbara Jean Hicks 2005-2009 unless otherwise identified. Text and images may be used for educational and other non-commercial purposes if copyright and website information are clearly stated. Commercial use of all text and images is strictly prohibited.