I am a big fan of Stephen Davies' teen and middle grades books, so I decided to read this as well (even though we no longer read picture books at bedtime). As with his longer works, this is true to the culture and landscape - make sure to read the author's note at the end. A young girl delivers a bowl of milk to her father far away in the fields. Disaster strikes at the end, but her father reassures her that "there was more than milk in that bowl." Christopher Corr's illustrations are bright and colorful and child-like.
Although the illustrations are cute and colorful, the story was just okay. Some points bugged me as a cook: e.g. the chickens are supposed to be making salsa so get tomatoes and onions, but salsa really needs chiles or it's just chopped tomatoes, you know? It is clever how the other animals build on the previous items, though. The end pages at the back have recipes, but the way the library cover is taped down you can't see the salsa recipe (which the other two depend upon). And since the front end pages are different, you're out of luck. Your own salsa recipe is probably more tasty than the chickens' recipe (especially if they leave out chiles!), so go ahead and make that if you are inspired by the book.
This book is fascinating. With Peter Menzel taking the photos and Faith D'Aluisio writing the essays, together they explore many cultures across the globe that rely on insects as a protein source. It's been a few years since I read it, but one thing I remember is this: there are basically two forms / textures of insects, crunchy ones (like grasshoppers or the large spiders shown on the cover) and squishy ones with a feel akin to soft scrambled eggs (such as giant mealy worms or larvae). And most of the cultures stick to one or the other.
So the book is intriguing, and in my head I know that insects are an inexpensive and sustainable source of protein - much better for the planet than, say, beef. But even knowing that, I still can't imagine eating them. Maybe someday, if I'm visiting a country where they are eaten, I will be brave enough. But not now.
[It's too bad AADL no longer owns this title - if you are intrigued, request it through MEL!]
I remember watching a film (yes, a film strip in a reel-to-reel projector! not one of those new-fangled videotapes or DVDs!) way back in elementary school, containing a hilarious scene with this donut machine going crazy, cranking out donut after donut. The visual stayed with me long after any other detail. So imagine my delight when we read this book to our children and found the great donut machine adventure. It's still hilarious, and while reading it I can still see the film in my mind's eye.
And beyond the donut caper, the Homer Price books by Robert McCloskey are real gems. They contain humor, tall tales, and adventure, all wrapped in a warm, period setting. They're great!
This is a great adventure story for middle grades and teens. It tells the story of Jake and his sister Kirsty (aka Kas), children of the British ambassador, who get kidnapped in a plot to undermine Yakuuba Sor. As they travel back to the capital, they struggle to determine who are the "good guys", the "bad guys", and those worthy of trust.
The author works in development in Burkina Faso and portrays the people and culture with sensitivity. The kids have a fairly typical sibling relationship - mostly loving but also strained at times - and a good relationship with their parents. Jake was a bit of a trouble-maker at his boarding school in England due to boredom, and grows to understand true courage and bravery in the course of the adventure.