VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6)
- Sherrie Rampey
This Feeding the World series aims to educate young people on the basics of how various food products are produced. All the books start with the same basic question: “Where does your food come from?” The author then invites readers to the grocery store to think about the food they or their parents buy. Each book then goes into a brief history of each product and where it is mass produced. The reader then goes on to discover the “how” and “why” of production. The text for each book is simple, brief, and a bit lacking in research. For instance, in Meat, the author suggests that by eating meat, humans developed bigger brains and thus got smarter. The research on the material could have been more objective and led readers to ask more questions about the production and consumption of these products. The photographs and illustrations provided throughout the books adhere to the subject matter being discussed. While the majority of the books start each chapter with a photograph of what is being discussed, the Meat book has, instead, illustrations of meat products. While this is a minor quirk and most likely an editing issue, it seems this particular series should adhere to the same format throughout. The author provides very basic information. The research that may be needed for a middle school student to complete a report on such a subject would need to be found elsewhere. (Feeding the World) Reviewer: Sherrie Rampey; Ages 11 to 14.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Colorfully and carefully designed, these slim volumes offer comprehensive introductions to food production. Readers will gain a thorough understanding of where their food comes from and everything that happens to it before it reaches the dinner table. The introductory first chapters are the weakest parts of the books, but the writing seems more precise in subsequent sections. Factual material is punctuated with amusing anecdotes, such as a theory of how cheese was discovered: a man galloped on a horse with a bag of milk on a hot day and voila: cheese. The mixture of historical and contemporary photos complements the text. Sidebars are lengthy but not cumbersome, and the glossaries are adequate. There are no informative graphics or diagrams, which would have been appropriate for this subject. Nevertheless, these books promote discussion, critical thinking, and further research. Their main strength is their unbiased, evenhanded approach to divisive subjects such as vegetarianism and organic produce.