Sitting Down to Eat


“I was sitting down to eat,
just about to begin
There was a knock on the door that said,
‘Can I come in?’”

The lively counting tale evolves quickly in this zany account for elementary-level readers.

About this Story

A young boy’s snack time is interrupted by a visit from an elephant. As soon as he moves over to make room, they are joined by a tiger… and a hippo… and a big blue whale … and soon a full menagerie, each insisting there’s room for one more. With his trademark marriage of story and song, children’s entertainer Bill Harley tests the boundaries of his young hero’s patience—and hospitality. Young readers will delight in counting candles on the birthday cake that is among the many favorite foods to be found in Kitty Harvill’s vibrant, kinetic cut-paper collages, which capture the energy and rhythm of Harley’s cumulative tale.


Audio version available on the following CDs:

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, 2014  |  ISBN-13: 978-1-56145-740-3  |  Ages: 8-12 
Hardcover: 160 pages;  Paperback: 160  pages  |  Also available: ebook, audio book, and audio CD


  • American Bookseller Pick of the Lists
  • Newsweek’s “Best Kids’ Books of the Year”
  • NCSS/CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
  • Selected for the Elementary School Library Collection


Readers are placed right inside the famous mitten of the Ukrainian folktale (a derivation Harley points out in an author’s note, with a special nod to Jan Brett). Harvill’s kinetic-looking, highly stylized cut-paper illustrations match the story’s energy and achieve an offbeat attitude to elevate Harley’s neat rhymes.... The lyrics land successfully on the printed page, where they bounce along with their own rhythm, no music given and none necessary.

The rhymes maintain a strong beat; children will love shouting out refrains, as well as the ‘BOOM’ that brings the house down when one last visitor is admitted. With Harvill’s frenetic cut-paper colleges, this is playful and lively.

The rhythm is bouncy and the collages full of charm...


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