Monday, August 29, 2016
Grow! Raise! Catch! How We Get Our Food, by Shelley Rotner. Holiday House, Thomas Allen & Son. 2016. $26.50 ages 4 and up
for our food.
They grow the
catch the fish ... "
As September rolls in, and the growing season for market gardeners and farmers begins to wind down, Shelley Rotner's newest work of nonfiction offers a clear picture for her young audience of just where our food originates. Young learners are often surprised to find that their food does not just come from the grocery stores where their parents shop. Rather, they learn it is grown, tended and harvested by an incredible group of dedicated farmers. On their farms they might specialize: some raise chickens that provide us with eggs and meat, some raise cattle that provide dairy products and many kinds of meat to satisfy our hunger, some raise vegetables of one kind or another, and often of many types, some tend bees that supply honey for our morning toast. It's important for each one of us to honor those people who make our lives better by providing the foods that sustain us and help our children grow strong and healthy. We can do that by supporting local farmers as often as possible.
Ms. Rotner begins with archival photos that hearken back to earlier times when families grew, raised and caught their own food. Today, most purchase their food from grocery stores; although there is a growing trend to buy from farmer's markets. A double page spread filled with images of the farmers and fishers leads to an introduction for each of type of grower: vegetables, berries, citrus and fruit, wheat, rice, potato, corn, dairy, beef, chicken, pig, fish, shellfish and lobster. She concludes with a visit to a family farm.
"We have a FAMILY FARM. We raise chickens for eggs and meat and goats for milk. We also grow our own vegetables and fruits. We raise bees and get honey from the hives. We tap the sap from our maple trees to make maple syrup. We make jelly from our grapes. We get sunflower seeds from our sunflowers. We like to know where our food comes from. We compost our leftover scraps of food by putting them back into the soil to make the soil healthier and more fertile. Then our food and animals will be healthier, too."
The engaging color photos are plentiful, and are sure to help children understand the value we place on farmers for the very important work they do. They might even convince a family to give a small patio garden a try.
A glossary and 'Did You Know?' section add to the appeal.