A globe-spanning gallery of terrific food and food-related photographs is paired to a text that is not so terrific.
Presented to promote the universality and dietary importance of fresh fruits, veggies and grains (and fish, but other meats not so much), Caldicott’s sunny scenes range from bountiful displays in open-air markets to views of cooks and farmers hard at work. Some, such as an alcove bursting with fresh and jarred olives in Morocco and a dazzling bouquet of zucchini flowers in Venice qualify as out-and-out food porn. Others, such as a quartet of photos featuring one kitchen in London and three others in Rajasthan, offer intriguing insights into different methods of food storage and preparation. The accompanying commentaries, however, are threaded with bland platitudes and writing that is awkward or even nonsensical: “This man in Durban, South Africa, has so many [tomatoes] to sell that he has time to read a book between customers.” Furthermore, the author wrongly claims that potatoes “cannot be eaten raw,” covers the same topic in “W is for Water” and “J is for Journeys,” and neglects to provide tantalized readers with leads to more detailed information about the issues, customs and practices he mentions.
Caldicott is a fine photographer—a writer, not so much. (Informational picture book. 5-9)