‘Edible Alphabet’ is an investigating book for school-age children

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“AN EDIBLE ALPHABET: 26 REASONS TO LOVE THE FARM,” by Carol Watterson, illustrated by Michela Sorrentino, Tricycle Press, June 26, 2011, $16.99 (ages 5 and up)

Once picked up, it quickly becomes clear that this alphabet book is not meant to be consumed in one sitting.  Almost encyclopedic in nature, “An Edible Alphabet, 26 Reasons to Love the Farm” is full to bursting with information, fun facts, stories, poems and eye-catching illustrations.

Well-researched and visually appealing, this picture book’s primary problem stems from its misleading and inaccurate title.  As a reader, I went into this book expecting an alphabet book based on the farm.  As such, I gathered my letter-learning preschooler and animal-obsessed toddler to my side for story-time.  This book, however, is much more the type of book that my grade-school child would enjoy picking up and leafing through in her current quest for strange facts and new knowledge about the world.  With no story line, and no particular emphasis on learning letters, this is an investigating book for older children, not an alphabet book.

With that said, the content of this book is unique and wide-reaching.  Information included pertains to nature and its connection to our lives and tables — not just your basic red-barn farm fun-facts.  This means that in addition to cows and horses, the young reader can discover fish-farms, cattle-ranches, bugs, and wild animals.  (Another surprise with regards to the title.)  Adding to the fun, each page differs from the others, with some emphasizing poems and funny stories, and others listing crazy facts that even parents will be surprised to learn.

Once one discovers what this book is really about, the content and detailed illustrations of “An Edible Alphabet” is an excellent choice for teachers or parents wishing to encourage exploration and curiosity about the way our world fits together, and how your dinner actually gets to your plate.

***This guest review is by Jamie Wood, a mother of three who enjoys brainwashing her children to read as many books as they can in one day. She does this by sitting on the couch and telling them she can’t talk now because she’s reading a book. So far all has gone well, and they are happily enjoying reading time together.

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