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Saturday, October 18, 2014

What's So Yummy? All About Eating Well and Feeling Good. Written by Robie Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $18.00 ages 3 and up

"Eating many kinds of food helps us feel healthy and good. So each day it's important to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. It's also important to eat some fish, or eggs, or chicken or other meat - or tofu, beans, peas or nuts. Some brown rice, or whole-grain breads, cereal or pasta..."

This is the fourth in the series called Let's Talk About You and Me, and its format follows a winning pattern. Meant to serve up information for young children, it is plain talking and provides information about staying healthy because of the foods eaten and the activities enjoyed.

On the first page a bold statement is shared, and the two kids comment by way of speech balloons:

Everybody everywhere needs to eat and drink.

Hey, Gus, it's picnic day! What I love about picnics is all the good food we get to eat. It's so yummy!

Nellie, what I love is running all around the park with our puppy, who loves to run, too. It's so fun!"

Cartoon art allows readers to journey along with the family as they set about visiting their community garden plot, add to their purchases at a farmer's market and make their final stop at the grocery store to get the rest of the items on their list.

As they make these stops, they also take time to have a healthy snack and some much needed water. At home, they unpack their many foods. All the while the two are providing a running commentary on the benefits of eating the right foods and getting enough exercise. They also discuss those foods that do not provide for healthy living. They talk about their likes and dislikes, not always agreeing:

"I never liked green peppers, but I tasted one every day this week. Now I think they're delish!

I love food, Nellie. But only SOME kinds of food. So I eat red peppers every day, but never green."

The children talk, the author explains, and the illustrator creates colorful, appealing digital visuals to help young children understand the connections between shopping for good foods, creating wholesome and delicious meals and sharing them at a picnic in the park. It's all good!


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