Will teenagers willingly read an entertaining and brightly illustrated book about food, or will this effort reach only those who are writing reports?
Although the cover art—a witty illustration of a caveman traipsing down a supermarket aisle studying a cereal box—is inviting, the chunky reinforced binding and format of the cover are still notably textbooklike. Inside, bright backgrounds, numerous text boxes, changes of typeface, and the caveman’s lime green footprints meandering throughout all do their best to distinguish the book from a typical textbook. Ayer covers a wide range of current topics, from food safety to the challenges of highly advertised but calorie-dense fast food to the notable increase in obesity in North Americans. Useful suggestions, mostly included on purple “Food for Thought” pages, are abundant, and many are eminently doable (examine Internet advertising by “fooling” browser cookies, for instance). “Infobites,” bright red pages with interesting statistics, interrupt the text every chapter or so and don’t always end up where they best relate to other information, but this is a minor quibble. Since this effort is being distributed both in Canada and the United States, it includes statistics and other information for both countries. Accurate, absorbing, pertinent, and important: a desirable purchase.
Regardless of its off-putting look, this effort is worthy of a broad audience. (Nonfiction. 10-18)