A warm celebration of both small farms and the idea that it takes a village to feed a child.

BEFORE WE EAT

FROM FARM TO TABLE

A simple poem thanking the people who grow, transport, sell and prepare our food is transformed by Azarian’s bright woodcuts.

Upon a verdant, wood-bordered field sits the proverbial groaning board, replete with tablecloth and candles; seated around it are people of diverse ages, genders and ethnicities. This opening image effectively sets the stage with its pleasing composition, exciting patterns and exquisite details. Awkwardly laid out under this strong opening, spread-spanning illustration is the prosaic but certainly accessible-to-all introduction: “As we sit around this table / let’s give thanks as we are able / to all the folks we’ll never meet / who helped provide this food we eat.” The text is set along white borders of both single- and double-paged artwork. It’s essentially a secular grace chanted beneath furrowed fields, glistening seas and a harvest scene that includes a worker with an “Eat more kale” T-shirt. Old and young, men and women alike roll up their sleeves and get to work without regard to typical gender roles. Eggs, milk and honey are gently collected, sows eat, and cattle graze; in keeping with the reverential mood, only butchers are absent from the list of workers. One thoughtful sentence stands out: “Thank the ones who bought this food, / the ones who teach me gratitude.”

A warm celebration of both small farms and the idea that it takes a village to feed a child. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-88448-352-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits.

PLANTS FEED ME

This simplest of informational picture books offers a sensible, sunny celebration of the plants—specifically the parts of plants—that we eat.

The opening scene shows a boy seated at table surrounded by a rich harvest. He’s holding a watermelon rind that mirrors the wide grin he wears, helping to set the good-natured tone of the book. As preschoolers examine the pages, they will learn about the featured fruits and vegetables and how they grew. Warm gouache-and–colored-pencil illustrations first depict a garden where “Plants reach up for the sun. / They grow down in the ground.” As the narrator goes on to explain that “I eat different parts from different plants,” such as roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, flowers and seeds, youngsters will find labeled images to peruse. The short, declarative sentences are easily digested by the very youngest and will tempt burgeoning readers to test their skills. Best of all, children will surely be inspired to taste some of the produce the next time it appears on their plates.

Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2526-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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A TREE IS NICE

A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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