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Sunday, June 12, 2011

RAH, RAH, RADISHES! Written and illustrated by April Pulley Sayre. Beach Lane, Simon & Schuster. 2011. $17.99 ages 3 and up

"Stash some squash.
Fill your cupboard!
Butternut, buttercup,
acorn, Hubbard!"

Come on, admit it! You don't eat enough vegetables and you are not even sure what some of them are. Most of us need to eat more of them! Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food) urges us to live by seven words. They are 'eat food, not too much, mostly plants.' Pretty simple, and oh, so sensible for all!  Now, April Pulley Sayre helps in that quest.

After poring over the lip-smacking display of munchy, crunchy vegetables in her boldly colored photographs,
you cannot help but salivate at the bounty. Then, read and reread her chant. It is a feast for stomach and voice!

The strong rhythm of the text just begs to be it with your class, your children, your friends' children but read it and then keep reading it. It would be great fun for shared reading in a classroom, or try it for a performance assembly this spring. It might start out as a readaloud; but it will quickly become one of those rhymes that stays with you as you go through your day and that kids will love to read on their own or with a friend. Soon you'll hear your kids repeating the couplets...they could be even become new verses for outdoor skipping games.

Along with that, we all learn about those foods that supply us with so much of what we need for healthy bodies. The author could not possibly include all vegetables but she offers a suggestion in her ' A Few More Bites' section at the back of the book:

"Fans of rhubarb, taro, collard greens and other vegetables missing from this book, please don't get steamed. You can find these and other vegetables, vegetable facts, and yummy photos at"  Do a search, you won't be sorry. She also offers up advice for learning more about these wonderful natural foods in her 'Be the Baron of Broccoli! The Colonel of Corn! The Cauliflower Queen!' segment.

I have tripped my tongue over her other chant books: Ant, Ant, Ant, or Bird, Bird, Bird and Trout, Trout, Trout and will happily go about sharing Rah, Rah Radishes in classrooms and workshops. Luckily, we will soon have another treat in store. Here's the word from April herself:

"Right now I am putting finishing details on Go, Go, Grapes: a Fruit Chant, which will be out next year."
Rah, Rah, April Pulley Sayre!

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