Wow! Learning the alphabet as well as the twenty-six types of fruits and vegetables at the same time! Along the way, there are opportunities for “teachable moments” about eating a variety of different colors, which contain different nutrients. Linking letters and healthy foods in fun rhyming rhythms encourages the desire to read as well as better retention of information at any age. However, there is more to this book than fun. Children can be fussy eaters, especially when it comes to vegetables. It can be a struggle to get them to try new foods. They seem to stick to the same few favorites—PB&J, hot dogs, french fries—all high in added sugar, added salt, and unhealthy fats. However, they can learn to like “finger foods” that are made by cutting up raw fruits and vegetables after they read and learn about them.
One of the most serious public health challenges of the twenty-first century is childhood obesity, which can harm every system in a child’s body. Excess weight can affect their heart, lungs, muscles, bones, kidneys, digestive tract, and can even interfere with hormonal issues such as controlling blood sugar. Unhealthy weight does not only take a heavy social and emotional toll; it can substantially increase the odds of increasing children’s risk of adult diseases and disabilities. Research shows that current food marketing practices include children seeing over seven thousand commercials a year for unhealthy snack foods and beverages that do not contain the necessary nutrients they need to live and grow. This is the first generation that are not expected to live as long as their parents. Current marketing is a major public health concern and a risk factor for an unhealthy diet that contributes to childhood obesity and other chronic diseases. Reading, rhyming, and remembering color pictures of fruits and vegetables are a wonderful way of combating society’s constant advertising of unhealthy food.