CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 20 . . . . May 30, 2008
If you and your students are "foodies" with an appetite for wacky food facts and other fascinating trivia, then this slim but action packed book is for you and yours.
Weird Stuff You Didn't Know About Food , by authors Frieda Wishinsky and Elizabeth MacLeod, builds on our fascination with food through history, science, art, superstitions and world records. Both of these authors have a talent for creating non-fiction books that make learning enjoyable, and this publication is no exception.
A delightful exchange between the authors introduces the universal topic of food likes and dislikes. This exchange sparks the idea of a book for young people about food - weird facts, fun foods, myths, activities, and so on.
Wishinsky and MacLeod create 10 fast paced, amusing chapters with titles such as: "Why Don't Vampires Like Garlic" (traditions and superstitions), "Would You Eat Tarantula?" (munching around the world), and "Who Invented That?" (incredible food inventions).
Each chapter is not only chock full of facts and fascinating tidbits but also answers questions such as "Do watermelons remove freckles?" and "Can you really clean a toilet with a can of cola?" Each chapter ends with a suggestion for an activity ranging from party ideas to crossword puzzles. Throughout the book, readers will find interesting sidebars called "Bits and Bites" which consist of morsels of amusing and informative antidotes, such as: "Imagine if you were paid in salt to wash the dishes or take out the garbage? Salt has been so precious to humans since ancient times that part of a Roman soldier's salary was paid in salt. (And that's how we get the word salary.) It's been key in preventing food from spoiling." And "Did you know that pigs love ice cream -- unless it's mint flavoured!"
"There's a Lab in my Kitchen" (chapter 6) presents nine kid friendly (some adult supervision required) experiments and recipes with a scientific twist. Try your hand at making a soda fountain with mentos, making raisins "dance" or making ice cream in a bag! The book ends with a comprehensive index and puzzle answer key.
Although the text as presented can stand alone as well done, illustrator Travis King must be commended for adding humor and energy that will attract readers and keep their interest. His illustrations are graphic, colorful and with a quirkiness that sets the tone of learning through sheer enjoyment.
Rosemary Hollett is librarian at St. Emile School in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.