Food for Thought: The Stories Behind the Things We Eat

Food for Thought: The Stories Behind the Things We Eat

by Ken Robbins
     
 

Deliciously interesting, tasty morsels of cultural history combined with luscious photographs will leave readers hungry for more.

"Every kind of food has its story." Acclaimed photographer Ken Robbins guides us through the history, mythology, and literary significance of food. Fascinating factsÑit was an apple that started the Trojan War; oranges used to

Overview

Deliciously interesting, tasty morsels of cultural history combined with luscious photographs will leave readers hungry for more.

"Every kind of food has its story." Acclaimed photographer Ken Robbins guides us through the history, mythology, and literary significance of food. Fascinating factsÑit was an apple that started the Trojan War; oranges used to be so expensive that only the rich could afford them--and stunning photographs make Food for Thought a tasty read that will have everyone looking at their plates in a new way.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“From a full-page celebration of a perfect portobello mushroom to a vignette of an heirloom tomato, his skillfully enhanced color photos are a pleasure.” —Horn Book

“In addition to sharing interesting bits of trivia, the author offers brief descriptions of related events from history, such as the Irish Potato Famine, and / or short synopses of the item's appearance in mythology.” —School Library Journal

“Each food receives a few pages comprising tidbits about its cultivation and use and snippets of lore surrounding it, partnered with spot art and full-page photographs.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A welcome resource, particularly for fast-food-gobbling young readers, who may discover the botanical origins of French fries for the first time in these pages.” —Booklist

Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
This book takes its inspiration from the stories behind the everyday fruits and vegetables we eat and typically take for granted. Focusing on the apple, the orange, corn, bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, pomegranates, grapes, and mushrooms, the author delivers a four page spread for each with text and illustrations. Within each spread, there is typically a large illustrated example of the fruit or vegetable featured, then an additional two or three photographs of, for example, the orange that highlights what it looks like, how it my grow, or how it may be eaten. The text provides a history of the food—typically where it originated and how it was brought to the attention of a larger population—then highlights specific stories or myths, terms or phrases connected to it, and interesting facts related to it. For example, Greek mythology has numerous stories in which pomegranates (Persephone) or apples (the golden apple for the most beautiful of the goddesses). "Couch potatoes" are named for lazy people who lie around on their couch, apparently looking like potatoes lying around in the ground. The "Chiquita banana" advertisements were inspired by entertainer Carmen Miranda, who wore a basket of fruit on her head while she danced. This is an interesting book well worth having in a school or family library. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7

Robbins presents a cornucopia of information about apples, oranges, corn, bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, pomegranates, grapes, and mushrooms. Each item gets about four pages of text and is accompanied by sometimes life-sized photos. In addition to sharing interesting bits of trivia, the author offers brief descriptions of related events from history, such as the Irish Potato Famine, and/or short synopses of the item's appearance in mythology. There are even some biblical stories. The coverage is ambitious, perhaps offering more than most kids want to know. However, with food being pushed to the forefront of national discussion and debate, this book could be coming along at just the right time. Students doing projects on nutrition and health will find it helpful, though they will most likely need supplementary sources as well. The omission of additional reading and sources is unfortunate. The photos lack the awe-inspiring quality of Robbins's Pumpkins (Roaring Brook, 2006). The main picture of each fruit and vegetable is set against overly shadowed or clouded backgrounds and while the images do capture the textures well, the food looks more arty than appetizing. The information is interesting and useful, but the book's shortcomings make it an additional purchase for most collections.-Laura Lutz, Queens Borough Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Striking photographs dominate in this odd paean to selected fruits and vegetables. The seemingly random assortment (apples, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes, bananas, mushrooms, corn and pomegranates) is just the first aspect of this undeniably attractive volume that may perplex young readers. A smattering of facts and stories about each food accompanies formal portraits posed against scenic backgrounds and smaller vignettes of trees, plants and prepared food items. The photos are vintage Robbins: colorful, sensuous, intriguing. There's little rhyme or reason discernible in the text, however, as it skips through time and across continents, alternately imparting knowledge and offering sly asides. For example, the author points out that "China grows almost half the apples in the world today," refers to various Greek myths in which they are featured and speculates on whether they were actually the forbidden fruit of the Bible. Ultimately both approach and content seem best suited to an adult audience (preferably dedicated foodies) who will be sufficiently familiar with mythology, history and literature to catch and appreciate the many allusions. (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596433434
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
03/03/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
10.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

KEN ROBBINS has written and illustrated over 20 books for children, including the highly successful Pumpkins. He lives on Long Island, NY.

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