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Sunday, October 7, 2018

EAT THIS! Written by Andrea Curtis and illustrated by Peggy Collins. Red Deer Press, Fitzhenry & Whiteside. 2018. $16.95 ages 10 and up

"But nearly 80 percent of the food products and 93 percent of the beverages athletes endorse aren't good for you - or for pro athletes! NBA All-Star Stephen Curry bucked the trend recently when he agreed to promote Brita water filters, encouraging everyone to drink more H2O."

This is a brilliant book meant to inform kids about the ways marketers work to get their attention and convince them to consume the products they are promoting.

"But much of the marketing is for things that aren't healthy. Foods like French fries, chips, chocolate bars, cookies, and hamburgers, beverages like soda and sports drinks. What's more, marketing works."

In 15 short, two page chapters, the author explains what marketing is, where products are placed, how kids spread the word about the products they are trying ... the list goes on. It is always thoughtfully presented and offers readers the opportunity to think about how they are affected by what they see and hear. Ads appear in almost every facet of their lives ... movies, television, video games, magazines. They encourage kids to spread the word and convince others that the products are worth a try. She presents her information in a friendly, non-threatening way, simply giving them the goods on how marketing works.

Consider this:

"People often complain fast-food hamburgers are smaller
in real life that in the ads. But portion sizes for the average
fast-food meal today are three times larger than they were
in the 1950s."

The author includes ideas for combating the constant barrage of influences kids are seeing in a 'DO THIS! chapter, which offers plans for making changes to what is being shown while children are watching their favorite shows on television, and asking companies to cut back on the mascots used to advertise their products. As parents and caregivers become more aware of what their children are seeing and speaking about those concerns, companies are encouraged to make changes if they want to remain viable in the marketplace. 

" ... some places, such as Chile and the city of San Francisco, California, have decided it's not fair to encourage young children to eat junk food by offering them toys. They've created legislation banning restaurants from offering free stuff when you buy a meal."

McDonald's Canada is now giving kids the choice from two Canadian children's books as a reward in their Happy Meals. How cool is that? 

Two final chapters, one aimed at students, parents, and teachers and another DO THIS! that makes suggestions for what we can do to combat the effect marketing has on the choices we make. 

Knowing more means we can do better.

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