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by Raymond Bial

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8075-7549-9
Publisher: Whitman

Easy to grow, and surprisingly useful, the soybean truly deserves to be called a “super” crop. Besides providing food for animals and humans, the versatile bean is used in the making of many products including plastics, crayons, printing inks and a biodiesel fuel. Author of more than 90 informational books, including many about farm life in America, Bial offers middle-grade readers a straightforward and thorough introduction to the legume, generously illustrated with photographs, many of which he took himself. The appealing design, with photos, maps and text often superimposed on other images, adds interest. Moving from the familiar (soybeans as food) to the unfamiliar (soybean cultivation from planting to harvest, alternative uses), the clearly written text includes information about soybean history and economics. Although the soybean was one of the five sacred grains of China, the United States is now the world’s biggest producer. This title will be a welcome addition to school units on agriculture and nutrition but is interesting enough to read on its own. (index, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-11)