CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 20. . . .January 29, 2010
These titles, which comprise “Slim Goodbody’s Nutrition Edition” series, teach primary students the fundamentals of the American Food Pyramid. All of the books start with a “Greetings” chapter which explains the colour coding of the pyramid but does not actually show the pyramid itself. Ten chapters, each of them double-page spreads, offer information about the source of the food in the specified food group, what people in different parts of the world eat, the health benefits of the food group, the recommended daily allowance and some examples of servings, how one can incorporate the food into one’s diet at different times of day, and various food guides from around the world.
The title pages feature children dressed in t-shirts in the same colour as the pyramid stripe (for example, blue for the milk group, purple for meat and meat alternates). Text is printed in a large and simple font with plenty of space around it, while illustrations (photographs, charts, maps and diagrams) are bright and colourful. Children in the photographs represent both genders and various ethnic groups. A table of contents, a small “Words to Know” section, featuring pictures beside the entries, and a brief list of books and web sites for further study are provided.
Some of the highlights of Delicious Dairy include a map of the world indicating animals, other than cows, whose milk people drink (eg., yaks, camels, and water buffalo to name a few), a very simple poem about how milk gets from the cow to the store, the benefits of consuming dairy products, and some interesting facts about cows. Canada’s Food Guide (and a corresponding web site) and the Puerto Rican Food Guide Pyramid are shown, although there is no information about the number of servings on the Canadian guide.
Fabulous Fruits focuses on the importance of choosing fruits from a variety of colours in order to get proper nutrients, how fruits grow, how fruit travels from faraway places, and the importance of eating locally grown produce to save on fuel costs. Serving sizes are also discussed.
Glorious Grains features some of the different types of grains (corn, rice, wheat, barley, oats, sorghum, millet and rye) as well as a diagram of a whole grain, emphasizing that at least half of the grains one eats should be “whole” for optimum health benefits. The chapter entitled “From Field to Table” lists the steps that are necessary in order to turn corn into cornflakes. This title shows Canada’s Food Guide and the Great Indian Food Pyramid.
In Marvelous Meats and More, readers will learn about the different forms of protein, including meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds and eggs, as well as legumes. A special section provides examples of protein-rich vegetarian dishes, such as bean burritos, tofu-vegetable stir-fry and lentil burgers, while another chapter includes interesting facts about meat, chicken and eggs. The Vegan Food Pyramid is shown at the back of the book.
Oils, though considered fats, are beneficial to the human body in limited amounts. Healthy oils can be derived from a variety of sources- fish, nuts, seeds, olives and sunflowers, for example. Outstanding Oils and Wonderful Water highlights the “good” oils and what constitutes a four-teaspoon serving, the daily recommended allowance. Though water is not part of the food pyramid, it is, nevertheless, essential to life. Readers are shown how they can get their daily water via fruits and vegetables as well as by drinking plain water.
Vital Vegetables shows various coloured vegetables and the different parts that humans eat, ranging from the stems of celery to the roots of carrots and the seeds of pea pods. Children can see how easy it is to grow their own little bean plant in a flowerpot on a windowsill or in a garden. This title includes the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.
Though much of the information given in these titles is very good, there are a couple of weaknesses. When reading about serving sizes, young children, who are just beginning to learn about equivalents, might find it a bit confusing to be told that 2 cups of cottage cheese is the same as 1 cup of milk (perhaps the chart of milk servings should have just listed examples of single servings rather than giving equivalents); and though it is a great idea to include food guides from other countries to compare them to the American Food Pyramid, it is interesting to note that nowhere in the series’ titles is the American Food Pyramid shown, a glaring omission!
Recommended with reservations.
Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian 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.