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Posted October 20, 2013
This is a most unusual book targeted for children nine and older. There are almost three hundred pages divided into six sections. If you expect a conventional book on food groups and good nutrition, you are not looking at the right choice. Some adults may find parts of it distasteful. This volume does provide a lot of information written in a way that many children will enjoy and includes some very unconventional activities. .
The book is available in hardcover and kindle editions. While the kindle version has nice pop up features, you will need a paper journal to complete activities. Basic premise of the book is to change the way you view food forever. Practical information is provided on how to deal with emergencies related to food like choking, poisoning, insect bites and first aid. It teaches how to set up balanced meals, use sustainable foods, and the methods of cooking and harvesting foods. There are diagrams showing the cuts of meat, and lessons on preserving foods, and how to forage, hunt and fish. An extensive glossary explains terms that will be unfamiliar to a child exploring the many topics included here.
Probably the most unusual parts of this work are the mission or exploration sections. For example, in the balanced food section there is an activity to train yourself to eat foods you don’t like. Some suggestions are to take a given list of foods and record how they affect your breath, combine foods from several different countries, reverse the order in which you eat your daily meals, and make a graph comparing the number of calories people in different countries eat. Children are given different statements and asked whether they believe them to be fact or fiction. Some missions are rather conventional like planting herbs, flowers and bulbs. Others are truly unique like making chocolate poo and keeping a poo diary in the section on waste. The reader learns how to make a band of edible musical instruments, graph and eat his height in spaghetti and eat his words on sugar paper. Cooks in the kitchen learn how to make ginger beer monsters, bake cookies in the shape of countries and invent their own cheese by combining a few ingredients.
I think by now you have a good idea of what this book is about. The content is somewhat rambling, but the work has a lot of value in the basic knowledge that it imports. Even though some of the missions and activities may appear somewhat strange, most children will find an interest that they would like to explore. I feel that the book is most valuable as a reference tool on food nutrition, earth science, geography and environment.
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