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Playful poetry and palatable prose provide a useful, kid-friendly introduction to nutrition.

This scientifically based exploration of the five food groups showcases their components and nutritional relevance by posing and responding to questions kids frequently ask.

Briefly explaining why we eat, the text examines each food group: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. After defining a fruit, listing examples, and discussing their nutritional value, the text investigates what makes fruits sweet and colorful. The vegetable section opens with the difference between fruits and vegetable and moves on to why many vegetables are green and why it’s important to eat vegetables. Describing “what makes a grain a grain,” the text explains the difference between brown and white breads and “what makes popcorn pop.” Protein foods are discussed as important building blocks followed by explorations of why lean meats are healthier than fatty and “why do beans make you gassy?” The final, dairy-group section explores the sources of milk, its composition, and nutrients as well as the difference between whole milk and skim and “why are some cheeses so stinky.” The clearly written, fact-based text concludes with advice on balancing food groups. Each double-page spread features a haiku that encapsulates the topic or subtopics explored and a prose sidebar that goes into detail. Colorful, acrylic illustrations featuring five inquisitive, racially diverse kids exploring food production on a farm add visual focus and lighthearted humor.

Playful poetry and palatable prose provide a useful, kid-friendly introduction to nutrition. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58089-590-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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A lackluster collection of verse enlivened by a few bright spots.

Poems on various topics by the actor/screenwriter and his kids.

In collaboration with his now-grown children—particularly daughter Erin, who adds gently humorous vignettes and spot art to each entry—Bob Odenkirk, best known for his roles in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, dishes up a poetic hodgepodge that is notably loose jointed in the meter and rhyme departments. The story also too often veers from child-friendly subjects (bedtime-delaying tactics, sympathy for a dog with the zoomies) to writerly whines (“The be-all and end-all of perfection in scribbling, / no matter and no mind to any critical quibbling”). Some of the less-than-compelling lines describe how a “plane ride is an irony / with a strange and wondrous duplicity.” A few gems are buried in the bunch, however, like the comforting words offered to a bedroom monster and a frightened invisible friend, not to mention an invitation from little Willy Whimble, who lives in a tuna can but has a heart as “big as can be. / Come inside, / stay for dinner. / I’ll roast us a pea!” They’re hard to find, though. Notwithstanding nods to Calef Brown, Shel Silverstein, and other gifted wordsmiths in the acknowledgments, the wordplay in general is as artificial as much of the writing: “I scratched, then I scrutched / and skrappled away, / scritching my itch with great / pan-a-ché…” Human figures are light-skinned throughout.

A lackluster collection of verse enlivened by a few bright spots. (Poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2023

ISBN: 9780316438506

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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A laugh-out-loud, dino-themed farce.

Ever wonder why there are no dinosaurs?

Marvin and Vamos offer a possible answer with a humorous twist: Dinosaurs had hair. Imagine! If dinosaurs had hair, they must have had hair problems, too, like “parents who brushed it too hard,” “siblings who pulled it,” and “snarls. SO. MANY // SNARLS.” And if dinosaurs had hair, they probably flaunted their impressive styles by “flying with flair,” “galloping with gusto,” and “swimming with sass,” all of which led to gossip, jealousy, and hair drama like the “HAIR // WARFARE!” between Team Hair-o-dactyl and Team Pompadour-o-saurus, complete with Jurassic jeers and computer game–esque illustrations. Readers see a battle of hairstyles, “from pigtails to pixie cuts…// from pageboys to perms.” The winning style? “BIG BANGS!” As a T. rex shows off their hairdo, illustrations show asteroids raining down in the background; the final page shows a lone, feathered dino who has survived—consistent with the theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds. The book’s climax may also provide a teachable moment to distinguish the concept of the Big Bang from theories of extinction. The primary text moves the story forward briskly, but a second layer of sassy and punny speech bubbles also add humor for older readers and adults. Detailed, digitally created illustrations feature vibrant colors, hilarious hairstyles, and dinosaur facial features with lots of attitude and emotions, making this a book that will be read and reread often. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A laugh-out-loud, dino-themed farce. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-79256-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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