Every Day Birds.
By Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Illus. by
Mar. 2016. 32p. Scholastic/Orchard, $17.99
(9780545699808). 598.01. PreS–Gr. 1.
Brilliantly colored cut-paper collage illustrations and simple quatrains introduce young
readers to 20 species of common North American birds. Each bird is introduced in bold
capitals before getting to the verses, all of which
are nicely set against rich-toned backgrounds.
VanDerwater wisely selects an array of avians
notable for their ubiquity, which also display a
wide variety of attributes and typical habitats.
Woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees can
Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and
be found in a forest, while finches, jays, and
pigeons can easily be seen in an urban environ-
ment. The verses also note a broad selection of
features, such as coloring, song, nest type, and
diet. The final pages of the book bring togeth-
er all the verses of the previous pages into one
gentle and well-crafted poem. Metrano’s eye-
catching cut-paper illustrations reveal plenty
of details, so that, even though the images
old-man skin. / Taste where it’s been”). Using
acrylic paints and collage, Moriuchi has created
pictures that stay away from strict realism. The
market’s customers and the food appreciators
are animals of all types: a frog rides a bicycle, a
giraffe and hippo play pirates, a moose rows in
a boat. Food selection and preparation is rarely
such a fun adventure. —Abby Nolan
Hope in a New Land.
By John Coy. Illus. by Wing Young Huie.
Mar. 2016. 32p. Carolrhoda, lib. ed., $19.99
(9781467780544). 305.9. PreS–Gr. 2.
Immigration has become a controversial topic
in recent years, and this collection of striking
photos and evocative words brings a warm, human face to an issue too often spoken about in
abstract terms. Huie’s moving photos capture
immigrant families in a variety of contexts—
attending school, performing back-breaking
labor, laughing with family, blending in with
their new communities, and holding onto old
traditions—and though there are no captions,
each image carries significant emotional weight.
Meanwhile, Coy’s words link each page’s photos
together, emphasizing common experiences of
newcomers to this country: “They made mistakes and people laughed”; “They kept going
day after day so we’d have choices they didn’t
have.” It’s a powerful message beautifully carried out in the marriage of words and pictures,
one reminding readers that immigrants are not
just brand-new transplants in their neighborhoods; in many cases, they are the progenitors
of the majority of American families. A moving,
affirming, and important addition to picture-book collections. —Sarah Hunter
The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the
1904 Olympic Marathon.
By Meghan McCarthy. Illus. by the author.
Mar. 2016. 48p. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, $17.99
(9781481406390). 796.48. K–Gr. 3.
What an accurate title! The first Olympic
marathon run in America—as part of the St.
Louis World’s Fair in 1904—involved everything from blistering heat to contaminated
water to strychnine poisoning. And that’s to say
nothing of the individual participants. McCarthy begins by introducing some of the runners,
including Félix Carvajal, a Cuban mailman;
Fred Lorz, a Boston bricklayer; and Jan Mashi-ani and Len Tau, black South Africans who
were employed at the fair. Kids familiar with
marathon races will see little resembling those
well-orchestrated events here. Automobiles follow the runners, stirring up dirt and dust that
affects the runners’ breathing. Vomiting and
stomach cramps begin almost immediately,
perhaps because runners were given unclean
water. Carvajal decides to take an apple break
under a tree. And a leading runner is given
poison by his trainers. The comic effect is
heightened by the art: google-eyed characters
who look as askance at the goings-on as readers will. A long author’s note gives background
and more of this strange-but-true (and captivating) story. —Ilene Cooper
The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to
By Erin Gleeson. Illus. by the author.
Feb. 2016. 112p. Abrams, $19.95 (9781419718861). 641.5636. Gr. 4–8.
This children’s edition of blogger and former food photographer Gleeson’s cookbook, The
Forest Feast (2014), is a treat. Taking a Rachel Khoo approach, small watercolor illustrations mingle with spare cooking instructions and a full-page color photo of each completed
recipe. The focus of these vegetarian dishes is creativity and simplicity—most need only four
or five ingredients. She encourages kids to swap ingredients and trust their taste buds. Preceding the recipes, Gleeson helpfully defines cooking terms and offers illustrated examples
of cutting techniques. A caution to have an adult present when using anything sharp or hot
is also given, but warnings are generally absent from the recipes themselves. The brevity of
the recipes’ text assumes a basic cooking knowledge—how exactly does one sauté?—making
this book best suited for youngsters already comfortable in the kitchen. The recipes include
edamame hummus, honey-mint lemonade, butternut quesadillas, plum tartlets, and instructions for hosting a grilled cheese party. With its daring flavors and a whimsical, though
mature, feel, this eye-catching cookbook is ideal for young foodies. —Julia Smith
Plants vs. Meats: The Health, History, and Ethics of What We Eat.
By Meredith Sayles Hughes.
Apr. 2016. 96p. illus. Lerner/Twenty-First Century, lib. ed., $34.65 (9781467780117). 641.5. Gr. 7–12.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Hughes offers a compact but comprehensive guide to food production and consumption
in the U.S., taking on its history, as well as ethical and health concerns, in the interest of
fostering conscientious eating. While the title implies a focus on vegetarianism, the scope is
far broader. Hughes lays out an array of dietary options—vegetarian,
vegan, flexitarian, omnivore, and so on—rooting the discussion in
personal choice. After establishing that people typically give up eating
meat for heath or ethical reasons, she takes readers on a whirlwind
tour of the major areas impacting the food we eat. First, she looks
at the influence that religion, availability, and historical factors (es-
pecially war) have had on food consumption. Next up: fad diets.
Hughes effectively exonerates maligned foods (fat, carbs, sugar, glu-
ten), pointing to the drawbacks of excess, preservatives, and refined
ingredients, while offering expert opinions and contrasting viewpoints in food debates.
The following chapter examines food production, comparing industrial and smaller-scale
farming practices. Animal welfare is addressed but not sensationalized, as are the pros
and cons of monoculture, genetically engineered, and organic crops. Finally, she turns to
ideas of sustainability and the future of farming, encouraging readers to be knowledgeable
about their choices. Fact boxes and color illustrations further enhance this admirably bal-
anced, bite-size primer on ethical eating. —Julia Smith
are simplified, little ones will easily be able to
identify each bird. The big, bold illustrations
and lyrical lines make this a great choice for a
read-aloud, while further information in the
closing pages will satisfy burgeoning birders.
Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmers’
By Irene Latham. Illus. by Mique Moriuchi.
Mar. 2016. 32p. Boyds Mills/Wordsong, $16.95
(9781629791036). 811. PreS–Gr. 2.
As bright and colorful as the fresh food it
celebrates, this picture book features 21 poems
(including one on the back cover), six healthy
snack recipes, and Moriuchi’s lively illustrations. Most of Latham’s poems are pithy odes
to particular fruits and vegetables, but the first
and last ones discuss the opening and closing of
a farmers’ market. Here, too, are paeans to some
other market staples: basil, farm-fresh eggs, and
wild honey. Latham lets the food items dictate
the form and feeling of each poem, as with
“Onion” (“Remove its hairy roots, / peel its