Alice Waters, restaurateur and founder of the school garden-to-table program the Edible Schoolyard, is feted in this lively biography.
Lines of black text are laid out over colorful double-page spreads that, through skilled use of Adobe Photoshop, have a pleasing resemblance to woodblock prints. In fact, the art greatly enhances the text, with its varied multitude of cheerful people growing, preparing and enjoying food, as well as the use of different framing techniques and vantage points. The book begins with a double-page spread showing, apparently, an oversize Waters serving salad to a happy group of multicultural children. The text, arranged in a quasi–free-verse form, reads: “Some people want new red shoes. / Some want to sing on stage / or play basketball. / … / [Chef Alice Waters,] She wants / the hungry kids, the happy kids, / the tall kids, the short kids / to have a delicious lunch—every day.” The text becomes less patronizing and more interesting as it progresses, chronicling the life of one contemporary foodie who has worked to make a difference in children’s nutritional lives. A tendency toward textual insipidity is mitigated by the artwork’s humor and details, as well as by several informative sidebars.
An obvious choice in communities that have active Edible Schoolyards, it may spark some interest in communities that do not—yet. (afterword, author’s note, bibliography, resources) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)