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My goodness, this is so true. If you have ever been to a French supermarket and really looked around, the first thing that usually hits you is the entire Cows tongue on special offer (always!) among other things. School lunches for kids are often varied and sometimes with nondescript items that on the foreigners frown at, the French kids don't look twice and just eat.

If you have a fussy eater this book offers some great guidelines, if you are trying to get your kid to eat like a French kid, good luck with that!

Tried and tested approach, more common sense and less mollycoddling approach is basically what it is about and unless you, as a parent, can also change your attitude and toughen up a little, no book is going to work, This is quite a hefty tome though. Do not expect to be able to flick through it and find a few recipes etc, it requires reading to be able to fully understand the necessary components required to take action and achieve results. To be honest, I had hoped for a more 'recipe' type book which showed dishes that could contain 'hidden' ingredients that kids would eat and get used to but really this book is more about doing it upfront and telling your child to eat or go hungry when it comes down to it.

It is in an almost novel like format and not an instruction/reference manual per se.
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on 6 November 2012
The author's tale of how she got her fussy, complaining, junk food loving kids to eat real food was at once sobering and entertaining. I found myself reading voraciously, desperate to achieve the result promised in the title. The book is a personal story of a Canadian mother who decided to move to France in search of an idyllic country life, only to discover to her amazement that all the other kids there ate grown up food. Over time she discovered 10 rules to follow which she tried out on her family.

I was following most of the rules already, but there were 2 that I needed to work on. The main one for me was about snacking...once I put the new system in place, my daughter started to EAT ALL OF HER MAIN MEALS!!! So simple yet life-changing. This week my daughter actually ate carbonnade flamande, spinach fishcakes, aubergine salad, pumpkin soup and vegetable tart. Prior to this each meal was filled with arguments, threats, pleading...if you're reading this review you will know exactly the behaviour I'm referring to!

I was so happy to read about this mother's own struggles which so mirrored my own. I knew that if she could do it I could too, and I am giving myself a pat on the back now for following her advice. Give this book a go, it's not expensive and it may just change things for you. It's chatty and fun to read. The anecdotes feel like they are coming from a friend and a real person, not some amazing know-it-all smug perfect mother. Love it!
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on 24 April 2013
I really enjoyed this book, having plenty of experience raising 3 picky eating kids in the UK (with loads of family in America). I found the insight into the French attitudes toward food and culinary education fascinating. The French attitude towards food as a celebration, a special event, and something to really learn about and cherish is very refreshing (versus the British and American attitude of maximum convenience and distraction and food on the run).

However, as a practical "picky eaters manual" or cure for individual kids, there isn't THAT much you can take away and implement. The author was transplanted to rural France and forced to totally change her family's lifestyle, supported by every single other person and institution around her (friends, relatives, schools, markets, restaurants, government).

There are certainly smaller changes that people in other places (ie UK, America) could learn from, for example limiting snacks, taking time over cooking and eating as a family, and teaching very young children about food, cooking and nutrition. But the food culture is just so different in France that it would be hard to make the same changes and have the same expectations of kids that she had in rural France (as she found when she went back to Canada).

Finally, I just have to say that although the variety of foods her kids got to love is very impressive, it just doesn't sound that FUN to be a French kid and to be expected to be a little adult from birth. I have spent a lot of time in France, and as the author points out, there just isn't a focus on making childhood fun and enjoyable. So while British/American parents may be overly indulgent and allow their kids to have worse manners, dirty clothes, eat hot dogs, etc., at least there is a bit more fun involved in being a kid.

So, something to learn for everyone and a really enjoyable read that I could easily relate to.
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on 7 October 2014
My wife was stressed by our son's increasing fussyness at home and at nursery.

She loved the book as it related her failures as well as successes. The story format of the book also worked better than many 'how to' books.

It's early days but since making some changes inspired by the book, our son is eating better. It's not a complete transformation - he's a British toddler after all, but it's definitely an improvement.

The main things we've changed are:
Encouraging him to at least try different food
Offer no alternatives
Reduce snacks
Eat as a family

All common sense really, but we're all happier so far.

I'd recommend the book for anyone else with a fussy eater.
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on 19 March 2016
Your life can be ruled by a fussy eater- you've tried everything and the know it all's say 'starve them- they'll soon eat' fair enough but if you go cold turkey on your kid you'll have problems. This is a book about teaching your child to love food and experience the joy and fun food can bring. If you are despairing then this is certainly helpful. Take from it what works for you.
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on 31 December 2014
We already eat very healthy and I read this out of curiosity. I expected it to be more of a 'how to' book so was very pleasantly surprised that it was more a 'journey'. That is her journey with all the good and bad thrown in and to end it all, how she then attempted to replicate it in her own country, in a way I thought would be replicable to other people who live in countries with a similar culture. I liked that she didn't make the French 'great' in a way that seems to be done in other books but looked fairly at both sides of the coin. Definitely a recommended read- I gained a lot from it.
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on 24 March 2013
Bought it out of the desperation as my little one is a fussy eater. She drives us mad with her poor eating habits and constant tantrums of what and when she will eat. On top of it she's been diagnosed with anaemia and stopped growing as fast as her friends same age. The book itself is very entertaining to read and you catch yourself thinking - Hell, that's my baby! I was very reluctant at the beginning to apply some of those rules such as babies eat when they parents decide they eat, what they parents decide they eat and there is no allowances for special orders. So far it works well with our baby. We are cooking food that is suitable for everyone and we are eating at the same time. If she doesn't like it, she goes hungry till next meal is scheduled. No special food or snacks in between. First it sounded very cruel to me, but now I am a big fan of this method. I don't beg, brag or go mad about her fussiness, because I know that a next meal or even next day meal will be eaten all and with a true delight. If you stick to your guns and provide good quality various food, there is no reason for your baby to not eat it with a pleasure.

I highly recommend it to all mums with babies like mine, so they stop messing up their own babies and get in charge of a healthy eater. We are still on a rocky road with our one, but it is already taking a right direction.
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on 8 January 2014
I looked for books that would give advice on getting kids to try new foods, as my 5 and 3 year old have a very poor diet. There is surprisingly little in this area- lots of cookbooks, but no practical advice. This was one of the few I found, but it was worth the search. Written from the authors point of view, it is more like a journal than advice book, charting her gradual realisation that her own kids diets needed to change, and how she went about it. It is very frank, and she admits to tactics and laziness in her own part which most of us are probably guilty of but would never say. On reading this book I changed things in my home dramatically. No more frozen food! Everyone eats together., and the same meal too, something that I don't think has ever happened in my home. It is really hard, but when I feel myself waver I read a bit of this book and feel strangely supported by it. It's not perfect- idealises France just a little too much- I mean it surely cannot be that perfect, can it? And demonises America, although that was easier for me to believe. However, it's a good, absorbing read and it will give you inspiration to change things which is what I really needed. Three weeks on, and my two are eating different foods already. Albeit they couldn't have gotten less varied. Its advice on the whole is relatively common sense, but the real worth of this book is the way it seems to egg you on to do the right thing for your kids, and to stIck to your guns when it gets tough. And that is invaluable.
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on 7 July 2012
It's great love it. And a great to follow my girls now starting to eat a lot better than they did before. Thanks
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on 12 October 2012
This little gem is FULL of wisdom for young parents. I found myself agreeing to almost all the French methods of bringing up children that the writer discovered.
This book needs application in the UK where so many children are badly behaved.
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