A roundup of traditional breakfast foods from around the world.
Brimming with foods—there’s Australia’s Vegemite on toast, Jamaica’s cornmeal porridge, and hagleslag (chocolate sprinkles) in the Netherlands—this colorful tome is a fun tribute to global foods and cultures. Each of the 12 countries has a dedicated two-page spread. One page is written in rhyme while the second page offers descriptions and cultural details in prose. Unfortunately, McGinty’s stunted rhymes break up the flow and detract from the book’s true potential. “Breakfast in Australia / is a black and salty paste. / Thinly spread on toasted bread… / It’s quite a shocking taste!” Most disappointing? McGinty loses a huge opportunity to encapsulate “breakfast around the world” by ignoring the plurality of America’s multicultural population. Americans don’t all eat bagels, cereal, or eggs and bacon for breakfast! Thank goodness for Suzuki’s playful illustrations. Attentive readers will spot lovely details beyond just food; the cultures themselves are on show, particularly how children live and play in other countries. Larger-than-life pictures of congee and shakshuka are flanked by fruit, flora and fauna, famous landmarks and symbols, as well as diverse children in everyday settings. The book also highlights different eating habits. For example, families in India gather on the floor to eat off banana leaves with fingers instead of silverware.
The concept’s basically sound, and despite flaws, the book could be useful when combined with other resources. (map) (Informational picture book. 4-10)