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At the Supermarket

Written & Illustrated by Anne Rockwell

Henry Holt & Co., Inc. (2010)

On a special trip to the supermarket, a young boy helps his mom buy what they need. There are meats, fruits, and vegetables to put in the shopping cart; soap and toilet paper, too. But the most important ingredients are those needed to bake a birthday cake.


“ First published in 1979 as The Supermarket, this book has an updated text and new artwork. A boy and his mother go to the grocery store, but this is not just any shopping trip. They buy fruits, vegetables, meat, toilet paper, eggs, and bread, but they are also getting the ingredients for his birthday cake. “Uh-oh! We almost forgot the little sugar sprinkles. But I remembered,” he exclaims. The well-written narration explains their trip from start to finish, including how the checkout line works. The brightly colored gouache illustrations on white backgrounds show the child helping to fill the cart and feature such items as produce and a container of ice cream alone on the page, making identification easy. This is a fun, educational read-aloud. ”

— School Library Journal

“ This updated edition of Rockwell’s picture book from 1979 offers a modern and timeless feel. A little boy heads to the supermarket with his mother. They buy meat, fruit and vegetables, bread and peanut butter.  In the cold dairy case, they get milk, butter, eggs and cheese. Then there are the items in boxes and cans like coffee and napkins. But it turns out that this is a special grocery trip and the boy and his mother select items to help them bake a birthday cake, including sprinkles and ice cream! Returning home, they bake the cake together. There is something special about books that focus on a specific activity. This book is both universal and specific. Children will enjoy seeing the similarities of what their family buys and also the differences. Rockwell wisely lingers on the specific purchases, offering images of many of them. Her illustrations that update this new version of the book are done in acrylic gouache. They are simple and specific, underlining the universal appeal of the book and its subject. Toddlers will relate quickly to this book and enjoy seeing another child heading out to the grocery store with a parent.

— Menasha Public Library Kids Lit blog

“ Rockwell’s 1979 classic gets a makeover with new illustrations and an updated story. As in the older version, a young boy and his mother go to the grocery store together. Their grocery cart fills with staples likely to be familiar to readers – bread, milk, eggs, grapes, carrots, paper towels and soap for laundry and dishes. Throughout the trip, Rockwell captures the eager helpfulness of the young boy, as well as his anticipation – the final groceries are the ones that will make his birthday cake. Thanks to brightly colored gouache illustrations, readers go to the store with the pair – no matter what store parents shop in, the artwork reflects commonalities, and the close-up views of the groceries are generic yet easily identifiable. While it ís a shame this update does not do more to include ethnic diversity in the foods acquired and depicted, its quiet clarity is sure to attract newcomers who appreciate the simpler pace of life it reflects. ”

— Kirkus