Books about the USDA’s nutrition standards regarding healthy eating are universally bland. This is no exception.
When Jack (yes, that one) climbs the beanstalk to the giant’s land, instead of threatening his life, Waldorf invites Jack to have a healthy meal with him. Double-page spreads introduce the food groups—vegetable, fruit, grain, protein and dairy; huge (to Jack) labeled examples of the foods fill the pages. Zofia, Waldorf’s wife, arrives in time to share the meal with them. Only in these final few pages is the new MyPlate program introduced: “So it’s healthy to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables?” “Right! The other half has grains and protein foods.” “Help yourself to a serving of dairy too!” Their meal ends with some suggestions for exercise (though the USDA MyPlate graphic takes away the visual of a figure climbing the food pyramid). The MyPlate image appears in the backmatter, along with a few more tips for healthy eating, a page of foods that have “empty calories” and a few exercise ideas. Leedy combines humor with (mostly) easily identifiable foods, making this a book that kids can participate in reading. But there is a strange mix of cartoon and real—Zofia’s plate contains a cartoon fruit salad and cooked crab alongside collaged-in salad and rice, and a piece of corn bread that is an odd mixture of both. The need to confine intake to one MyPlate per meal goes unsaid.
Despite obvious curricular connections, this one’s a miss. (Informational picture book. 4-8)