The Berry Book

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In a survey of berry-making plants, Gibbons describes many types of berries, explains how several are cultivated or harvested, and describes some inedible berries and their uses in candles or decoration. Using labels, divided pages, and a running text, she also mentions a bit of history, introduces pollination, cultivation, and marketing, plus differentiates some types of poisonous berries from edible ones. Very simple directions for making blueberry pie, growing strawberries from runners or young plants, and making berry ice cream or jam are included. And as in most of her nonfiction survey books, Gibbons includes a last page of facts that didn't fit in the text. It's a look at fruit most children take for granted and the book would make a good discussion starter in units about food, where it comes from, and how we use it. The text alone isn't especially compelling but it does bring to readers' attention a subject they may overlook, and it groups plants in unusual ways and reminds us of the many uses to which we put fruit. 2002, Holiday House,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-An overly busy picture-book introduction. Gibbons offers a history as well as a guide to which berries are poisonous and which are edible. The layout tends to be cluttered. Prose is divided on some pages, with text running across the top from page to page as well as a few short sentences along the bottom. The watercolor cartoon illustrations are large, entertaining, informative, and abundant. Appended pages include how to grow strawberries, plus a few recipes that are far too simplistic to be of any real use. For example, there is no list of ingredients for making a blueberry pie. Instructions for making raspberry ice cream (two steps) and strawberry jam (six steps) are equally sketchy. Diane L. Burns's Berries, Nuts and Seeds (NorthWord, 1996), for slightly older audiences, is more clearly formatted and easier to use.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, elderberries, bunchberries, currants . . . yum. The indefatigable Gibbons (Behold . . . the Unicorns!, 2001, etc.) surveys these glowing gems of the plant world, carefully differentiating between the edible and the inedible, the wild and the cultivated. She takes strawberries in stages from flower to mature fruit, showing other berries on the bush, in the collection basket, and being eaten or used for decoration, then ends with simplified recipes and some additional facts. Her design is to treat one topic per page, using vignettes to feature the differences. So a page on harvesting cultivated berries includes a hand picking a strawberry, another holding a blueberry rake, a third features a giant blueberry-picking machine, and the fourth a hand-pushed cranberry picker. Very basic facts about several varieties help to fill the pages: "Cranberries grow in bogs. Cranberries are firm and red. A BOG is a wet area. Cranberry sauce is served with turkey." With characteristic visual simplicity she depicts them in a rightfully luscious-looking array of shapes and colors too. Hardly a definitive overview, but certainly a beginning. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823416974
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 470L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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