Picture books with characters that promote healthy eating are increasingly being used to make this behavior more attractive. The first aim of this study was to investigate whether the effect of vegetable promoting picture books on toddlers' vegetable consumption differed according to the reading style and the use of a hand puppet during reading. The second aim was to investigate whether these effects were mediated by toddlers’ narrative involvement and character imitation. In a 2 (reading style: interactive vs. passive) x 2 (puppet use: with vs. without puppet) between-subjects design, 163 toddlers (2e3 years) were randomly assigned to one of the four reading conditions. The story was about a rabbit that loves to eat carrots. After the fourth reading day, the eating task was conducted in which children could eat freely from four different snacks, including carrots. The main finding was that interactive reading produced the greatest carrot consumption. The explanation for this effect was that interactive reading stimulated toddlers to imitate poses of the book characters, even more when interactive reading was supported by the use of a hand puppet. The findings underline that young children should be actively involved with health interventions in order for them to be effective.
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|Year and volume
|character imitation, healthy food consumption, interactive reading, picture books, puppetry, toddlers