Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: Mrs. Peanuckle's vegetable alphabet; Mrs. Peanuckle's fruit alphabet; illustrated by Jessie Ford

Rodale Press, well-known for gardening instruction, has branched out into children's books with mixed results. This series introduces fruits and vegetables to very small children in two board books. The fruit alphabet starts with the unusual choice of avocado. Colorful, busy illustrations and a busy layout of text in a collage format fills the pages with such fruits as jack fruit, ice cream (with fruit), a whole flood of fruits beginning with "p", ugli fruit, vanilla, elderberry, and figs. Some of the text simply lists fruits, other selections give warnings about not eating berries outside, and still others describe taste and texture.

The companion title, focused on vegetables, is very similar. A hot pink page features a yellow jicama with a smiling face and red mouth (incidentally, I take issue with the statement that it is "delicious eaten raw." not in my experience! Yech.) A light blue page features an explosion of smiling peas and a cute brown bunny. Tomatoes are included in this title, as they are in fruit, only to explain that they aren't vegetables. U stands for "underground" which has a variety of root vegetables and V is for "vegetable" which covers a range of vegetables from the book.

These are bright and colorful but not what I'd choose when looking for developmentally appropriate board books. The pages are crowded with words and pictures and most of the fruits and vegetables depicted will be unfamiliar to children in my small, midwestern town. The text is also often a higher level than will hold the attention of the average toddler. However, I plan to purchase these. I collaborate with a colleague on healthy eating programs and these are perfect choices to share with parents and children to expand their familiarity with fruits and vegetables. The colorful art and cheerful, friendly voice of the text are a bonus.

Verdict: These are samples of a board book that isn't necessarily aimed at the baby and toddler audience but can still be very useful in diversifying your collection.

ISBN: 9781623368708; Published 2017 by Rodale Kids; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library

ISBN: 9781623368722; Published 2017 by Rodale Kids; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library

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