Like its predecessor, Adam Mansbachâ€™s new picture book comes with the warning that it probably shouldnâ€™t be read to children. You Have to F***ing Eat, the followup to his surprise bestseller Go the F*** to Sleep, sees the novelist tackle another part of the unending battle of wills that is parenthood: food.
The unlikely combination of a picture books sweet, animal-heavy illustrations and neat rhymes with words that most parents would prefer their children to avoid sent Go the F*** to Sleep soaring to the top of bestseller lists in 2011, winning it fans from Samuel L Jackson to Werner Herzog. Jackson recorded an official audiobook, in which the actor gave voice to lines including: The cubs and the lions are snoring, / Wrapped in a big snuggly heap. / How come you can do all this other great shit / But you cant lie the f*** down and sleep? and The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest / And the creatures who crawl, run and creep. / I know yourâ€™e not thirsty. Thatâ€™s b** s****. Stop lying. / Lie the f*** down, my darling, and sleep.
Mansbach said: Theres been plenty of enthusiasm for a sequel over the years (and plenty of suggestions) but I always said Iâ€™d only do one if it rang true to me if I felt like I could imbue it with the same kind of honesty, love, and frustration as the first book. And eating is the other universal source of parental anxiety, a battle of wills just as pitched as sleep can be. From my own experiences and plenty of conversations with other parents, it seemed like a topic folks could use a laugh and a bit of catharsis about.