News and Interviews

Bunny Loves Beans, and Jane Whittingham Tells Us Why You Should Too

Bunny Loves Beans by Jane Whittingham (Pajama Press)

New and healthy foods can be a challenge for young children, but the right books can introduce them to the vibrant world of fruits and vegetables!

Librarian and author Jane Whittingham was inspired by her own son, a selective eater who was suspicious of most foods, and set out to write a book that would speak to kids like him, and expand their culinary horizons.

In Bunny Loves Beans (Pajama Press) adorable animals are paired with playful, engaging words as readers learn about the healthy greens, reds, yellows, and blues that are good for all. Upbeat language and endearing photographs will keep the young ones interested, in a book that's perfect to read aloud. 

We're likewise inspired by this Kid's Club Picture Book interview with the author, shared here on Open Book:


Open Book:

Tell us about your new book and how it came to be. 

Jane Whittingham:

Bunny Loves Beans was inspired by my son, who was a very selective eater as a young child, and was suspicious of most new foods. We often use books to learn about new experiences, and he loves animals, so I wondered if I could write an animal-themed book that would encourage him to expand his culinary horizons. The book uses stunning full-colour photographs to show children and animals enjoying healthy, delicious, colourful fruits and veggies. 

Bunny Loves Beans - Cover

Bunny Loves Beans by Jane Whittingham


Is there a message you hope kids might take away from reading your book?


I hope I can support families in their journeys towards healthy, balanced, plant-forward eating, by encouraging children to explore delicious, colourful fruits and veggies. Trying new foods isn't always easy, but maybe if kids see some adorable animals happily chowing down on different colorful foods, they might be more inclined to try them, too! At the same time, I hope to showcase to children how closely connected we all are to the many creatures that share our planet, because when we feel a connection with nature, we're more likely to feel a responsibility to protect it.


Did the book look the same in the end as your originally envisioned it when you started working, or did it change through the writing process?


There were a few changes made to the text during the editing process, but the book looks largely the same in its final form as it did in my first scribbled drafts. Sometimes my stories go through a lot of changes before they're published, and sometimes you just get it right the first try! You never can tell, as no two books are ever the same.


What do you need in order to write – in terms of space, food, rituals, writing instruments?


I'm a busy working mom, so I write whenever and wherever I can! I really don't need much - some paper and a pen, my phone, a tablet or computer, and a few uninterrupted minutes. I'll make just about anything work! I can't really afford to be too picky, when time is such a rare and precious resource. If possible, I do like to have instrumental music playing while I write, to help me focus, and a strong cup of tea never hurts! I am a bit funny about pens though - for some reason, I much prefer to write with blue ink, instead of black ink, so I usually have a few pens stashed in the bottom of my handbag, just in case.

Jane Whittingham Author Photo

Jane Whittingham


How do you cope with setbacks or tough points during the writing process? Do you have any strategies that are your go-to responses to difficult points in the process?


The publishing business is tough, and what really helps me stay positive about the whole process is knowing that being an author is only part of my identity. I wear many hats, and they're all fulfilling, challenging and rewarding in their own ways. I'm a mother, a partner, a friend. I'm an educator, a librarian and a blogger. And in addition to all that, I'm an author. So if I'm not writing anything at the moment, if I don't have a book coming out in the near future, it's ok. I have other interests and hobbies and responsibilities that give me purpose and meaning. The writing will come, the books will come, but I have plenty of exciting things to keep me occupied while I wait!


What do you wish people knew about what you do?


I like to write for very young children, and I do think people sometimes underestimate how much care goes into the crafting of books for babies and toddlers. They are typically shorter texts, but that can make them even more difficult to do well, as each word must be chosen with care. I have a background in education, and it's important to me that my books use rhythm, rhyme, and the repetition of specifically chosen vocabulary to support the development of early literacy skills - and that takes time! Board books are an absolute joy to write, but as with anything, it takes a lot of work to do it well.


How, if at all, does social media feature in your writing process?


I'm not much of a social media user - while I do enjoy following the accounts of different public libraries, and I appreciate being able to connect with other writers, I find being online can easily suck up too much of my already limited writing time. Thankfully I've never felt any pressure from any of my publishers to be more active on social media, which I really appreciate, as it's just not something I have the capacity to do well at this stage of my life. I'd much rather be writing, reading, or spending time with my family than scrolling away on a screen!


What's your favourite part of the life cycle of a book? The inspiration, writing the first draft, revision, the editorial relationship, promotion and discussing the book, or something else altogether? What's the toughest part?


My absolute favourite part of the life cycle of a book is the very end, when I can share the finished title with children and families. I'm a children's librarian by trade, and I focus on writing quality books that I would want to read in my own programs. I love story times, so being able to read my books aloud and see the smiles on children's faces as they take in the beautiful photographs or illustrations is such a joy and a privilege. Writing for young children means that I always have the cutest, funniest, most wonderful readers!


What are you working on now?


I always have a bunch of projects in different stages of development. I'm currently dipping my toes into the world of writing for hire, working with major publishers to write stories for licensed properties. It's an entirely different kind of writing, and it's been fun to challenge my brain by taking on this new challenge. I'm always very busy at work, too, developing and facilitating engaging programs for children and families in my community. And of course, I'm a mom to the funniest, kindest, most awesome kiddo. I definitely have the best jobs in the world! 


Jane Whittingham is a librarian from Burnaby, British Columbia, and earned her Masters of Library and Information Sciences at UBC with an emphasis on children’s librarianship and literature. Much like the adventurous main character in her first picture book, Wild One, Jane loves to explore. And every time she jet-sets across the globe, Jane takes pictures of all the cats who cross her path.

Buy the Book

Bunny Loves Beans

Green for a deer, / And green for me!… Gold for a bee, / And gold for me!

Preschoolers will explore bright colours, healthy foods, and a variety of adorable animals in this multilayered Big, Little Concepts book. Just like the endearing animals around the world, we eat greens, reds, and blues too! Bunny Loves Beans explores the wonderfully similar and different food that preschoolers and animals both eat.

This fun book serves as a great introduction to fruits and vegetables, and the upbeat language paired with the adorable photographs are sure to encourage your little one to eat their fruits and vegetables! By the end of this book, preschoolers’ will love to eat their greens, yellows, blues, and even pinks with this adorable photographic book!

The rhythmic text is perfect for an energetic read-aloud, and the repetitive language will boost your preschoolers’ word recognition.