How Did That Get In My Lunchbox? by Chris Butterworth


About six months ago, when my five year old was still four, we were deep in the throes of “why-dom.” As any parent knows, there is a period where every single thing you say is met with a simple “why?” It goes a little something like this.

Me: “It’s time to go to school.”
Him: “Why?”
Me: “Because the clock says it’s almost 8.”
Him: “Why?”
Me: “Because that’s the time.”
Him: “Why?”
Me: “Because it just is. That’s how time works. I don’t know.”
Him: “Why not?”
Me: “Because contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually know everything.”
Him: “Why not?”
Me: “Because no one knows everything.”
Him: “Why not?”
Me: “Uh…it’s just how it is…”
Him: “But why?”
Me: “Uh…uh…ARGH just put your shoes on, Kid, we gotta go.”

I’m usually good for about four or five why’s before things start to get either really scientific or really philosophical. I end up quickly painting myself into a corner and it’s exhausting. On one hand, I want to feed that beautiful, natural, and very earnest curiosity, and on the other hand, OHMYGOD just give me five minutes in my waking day without asking me any questions.

Now you might think that this phase ends and you can move on. But noooo, my friend. The “why’s” merge into the “how’s”- and I can still answer only a few before trying to distract my son with something shiny.

You might also think that while you’re reading a book aloud, you could get a few minutes respite from the barrage of why’s (and how’s). Again, noooo. Only when you’re reading a fully informative book that answers the questions before those tireless little minds think to ask them do you get a rest.

And that is precisely why I like books like this one, How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?

How Did That Get In My Lunchbox? by Chris Butterworth- from

The author delves deep into something totally simple and relatable: the ubiquitous lunchbox.


Oh, look, a sandwich! Made with bread! And cheese! And vegetables! How did they get here, you ask?

IMG_2829Well, the bread is made of wheat.

But how?

Just listen, Kid. We’ll cover it all.

IMG_2831From the sandwich to the juicebox to the carrots and orange and even a chocolate chip cookie (“But Mom, why don’t I ever get a chocolate chip cookie in my lunchbox?”), we are painstakingly taken through the process of budding, growth, harvesting, picking, cleaning, and shipping to your local grocery store.

It’s actually a really well put-together book, with nice thick pages and bright illustrations.

And it might afford you a few minutes before you’re asked “Why do people have two ears and not just one? How does a chameleon change colors? Why doesn’t Daddy have hair? Why are you making that face? Why are you going into the kitchen?”

Really, you’ve gotta be on your toes.




14 thoughts on “How Did That Get In My Lunchbox? by Chris Butterworth

  1. Love this one!! You really nailed the rising tension that occurs when the kids start asking “why”. I was stressed after reading it. 🙂 Looks like a great book for curious minds!


    • They’re unrelenting, but it’s a wonderful thing. I’d rather have curious little minds than the opposite. I just wish I knew the answers to half the questions I’m asked throughout the day!


  2. hahaha! That’s a pretty funny post! And that book sounds excellent. I think most food comes from the refrigerator. And my tub in the closet. I know that some stuff falls out of our trees. It would be fun to learn all that other stuff. Thanks for sharing!


  3. LOVE THIS SO MUCH! great post. usually I get too many whys and then I say B/C I SAID SO THAT’S WHY. what a cool book. so fun to find out where food comes from. (unless it comes from mystery meat paste, then maybe not so fun?) 🙂


    • Perhaps an inspiration for us to only put food that we can trace in lunch boxes, no? 🙂 I’d hate to have to start answering questions about “shelf life.”


  4. Love the story and the book. When my kids (or their friends) would start down the why path, I was good for a few, then: “Merwak! The Whybird!” A few “Merwaks!!” and they would start giggling. Usually that would do the trick. I like your solution, too.


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