What is the story behind corn?

Corn is used in many favorite foods, such as popcorn, corn on the cob, corn dogs, and cornflakes. This cornucopia of information in Gail Gibbons's tried-and-true style presents the history and uses of corn as well as details concerning ...

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What is the story behind corn?

Corn is used in many favorite foods, such as popcorn, corn on the cob, corn dogs, and cornflakes. This cornucopia of information in Gail Gibbons's tried-and-true style presents the history and uses of corn as well as details concerning planting, cultivation, and harvesting.

"A simple, yet informative and engaging look at an important food source." —School Library Journal

"Well-organized, accessible narrative." —Booklist

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Margaret Orto
Gail Gibbons turns her attention to corn and the result is, as usual, a book chock full of written and visual information about this useful and prolific farm product. Everything from the history of corn to how to plant, cultivate, and harvest corn is covered. Also revealed are the many uses of corn in food and other products. The reader learns how corn was cultivated in Mexico and Central America thousands of years ago, as well as its importance to Native Americans, the introduction of corn to the Pilgrims in Massachusetts, and its popular use in Colonial America. Definitions are provided for concepts like cultivation and pollination, and the four types of corn are discussed. Corn is most often eaten and enjoyed on its own or recognized as a grain found in foods such as cereal and corn muffins, but it is also surprising to learn of its use as a natural sweetener (corn syrup) that is found in jams, jellies, salad dressings, and fruit and soft drinks. Gibbons also depicts the astonishing array of non-food items that contain corn such as soap, glue, paints and dyes, biodegradable plastic and packing materials, paper products, medicines, and ethanol for fuel. As she has done for other subjects, Gibbons perfectly pairs word and image together for a comprehensive look at corn. Each page is laid out in a lively and accessible manner with text and pictures that are clearly labeled. Learning about corn is fun in this brightly illustrated and engaging book. Gibbons offers a complete resource about a product that children encounter constantly in their daily lives. Reviewer: Margaret Orto
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

Gibbons offers myriad facts about corn, from the most basic to the more complex process of how kernels are actually formed. The colorful watercolors are sure to attract the attention of even the most reluctant readers. The author explains the importance of the crop to the ancient Mayans and to the Pilgrims, as well as the many products derived from it today. Various spreads are devoted to types of corn, and to planting, pollinating, and harvesting it. Colorful, often humorous pictures show an assortment of people enjoying corn in its many different forms and the equipment used to produce it. A simple, yet informative and engaging look at an important food source.-Anne L. Tormohlen, Deerfield Elementary School, Lawrence, KS

Kirkus Reviews

Corn must be on preschool curricula, along with pumpkins, apples and harvest time: There's no other reason for this book, an adequate but unspectacular volume covering the history of corn (Indians, both South American and North American, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving—the standard story), types of corn and the different ways corn is used and grown. Of particular interest are the spreads which contrast small farming with factory farming, from planting to harvesting. The primary text is characteristically simple, with insets providing more concentrated information, but said information is scattershot. An excellent sidebar explains how popcorn pops, but there is no satisfactory explanation of how exactly flint corn differs from dent corn and why each is suited to its specific uses. The whole reads like an encyclopedia article, without story or rhythm, and the illustrations don't capitalize enough on what could be the cool parts—like combine machines, detasseling or ethanol (which is relegated to a teeny thumbnail at the end). Ho-hum. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823422456
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 629,565
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Gail Gibbons has written and illustrated more than fifty books with Holiday House. She loves asking questions about the world, and writing nonfiction titles gives her the opportunity to research and travel to find the answers to everything she is curious about. Before creating children's books, she worked for NBC television. She and her husband live in Vermont. Visit her on the web at

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