Food is not just elemental; it is remarkable, and this effort does it justice.

Food fundamentals, branching into provocative digressions.

The cover will throw readers a little, with its psychedelic colors but rather picture-book artwork, for the narrative is crafted for middle graders. It is a thoughtful tour of food, starting with the mind-blowing results of a compilation of surveys: broccoli grows on trees, lettuce has more protein than peanuts, pasta is made from meat. So the authors set a solid foundation, taking nothing for granted. They start with the evolution of agriculture and husbandry, with timelines and sidebar summations. Then come farm equipment and the step-by-step progress in farming technology. Aided by a good selection of photographs, gender and nationality become a part of the picture, as well as diversity of foodstuffs. They proceed from this base to address some of the problems, pitfalls, and ethical dilemmas that have befallen agriculture: factory farms; depletion of stocks; the difference between hybrids and genetically modified organisms, plus a balanced look at the pros and cons of GMOs; the role of branding and marketing; and environmental issues, including fishing dead zones and soil corruption. The authors bring a knack for concision to the work, particularly with regard to problematical everyday foods (trans fats, sugar, processed foods), though the busy, bright graphics sometimes make it hard to focus.

Food is not just elemental; it is remarkable, and this effort does it justice. (glossary, further reading, selected sources, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-884-5

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017


Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote...

Two republished tales by a Greco-Cherokee author feature both folkloric and modern elements as well as new illustrations.

One of the two has never been offered south of the (Canadian) border. In “Coyote Sings to the Moon,” the doo-wop hymn sung nightly by Old Woman and all the animals except tone-deaf Coyote isn’t enough to keep Moon from hiding out at the bottom of the lake—until she is finally driven forth by Coyote’s awful wailing. She has been trying to return to the lake ever since, but that piercing howl keeps her in the sky. In “Coyote’s New Suit” he is schooled in trickery by Raven, who convinces him to steal the pelts of all the other animals while they’re bathing, sends the bare animals to take clothes from the humans’ clothesline, and then sets the stage for a ruckus by suggesting that Coyote could make space in his overcrowded closet by having a yard sale. No violence ensues, but from then to now humans and animals have not spoken to one another. In Eggenschwiler’s monochrome scenes Coyote and the rest stand on hind legs and (when stripped bare) sport human limbs. Old Woman might be Native American; the only other completely human figure is a pale-skinned girl.

Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote tales. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-833-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017


In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)


Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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