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Down To Earth: How Kids Help Feed the World…

Down To Earth: How Kids Help Feed the World (Footprints)

by Nikki Tate

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These two books, new from the Orca Footprints series, explore the different ways in which kids around the world can contribute through food growth and consumption and bike riding. Both books are packed with facts, colorful photographs depicting situations from many different cultures and and countries, and personal narratives that describe the ways in which the authors, themselves, work to be a part of the choices they recommend readers might engage in to make the world a better place. Each chapter starts with a "riddle" that acts more like a knock knock joke, is sprinkled with "food" or "bike" fact inlays, and covers a wide breadth of information within each subtopic. In Nikki Tate's Down to Earth, she discusses the dozens of ways kids can get involved in planting, growing, raising and harvesting their own food; covering topics like fruit and vegetable farming, raising farm and working animals, and selling or trading goods. Michelle Mulder's Pedal It! starts from the inception of the bicycle, its history throughout the world, the different ways in which different cultures use bikes in their daily activities, and how cycling culture is changing the world. Both authors include multiple insets that connect their words and advice to their own, personal experiences with their topics, which adds flavor and authenticity to the text. Though the photos in both books are well-composed and artful, the captions are over-crowded. The content, itself, is also a little advanced for its target audience with text-packed pages and large words that might be too big. Both books would benefit from a pronunciation guide and glossary, which are unfortunately absent. Both books include tables of content, "riddles", fact inlays, resources for further study, and indices. Recommended. ( )
  sroslund | Sep 19, 2013 |
Orca is starting a new nonfiction series for young readers focusing on environmental impact. From the title, I was expecting stories about kids around the world who help feed their families. The book is really an introduction to food production on small, organic farms and in rural, undeveloped countries. At least that's the best description I can come up with.

There are lots of photographs of kids helping on family farms around the world and many anecdotes from the author's own family-run farm, Dark Creek Farm. The book has a chapter explaining seeds, plants and gardens, a chapter on chickens and ducks, a chapter devoted to other animals like pigs and sheep and a final chapter on working animals, or multipurpose animals.

The book is very balanced in its approach; for example, it talks about large-scale poultry farms and their drawbacks, but it also explains what other egg carton labels mean and that "organic" or "free range" don't necessarily mean the chickens are treated well or aren't affected by chemicals in some way. The book also talks about 4-H, genetic diversity in plants and animals, and how cows affect the environment. There are lots of suggestions for how kids can be part of the food process whether they live in a rural or urban area.

There is a short list of further reading, websites, and an author's note about her farm and the people who helped her with the book. There is also a detailed index. I thought the economics aspect of the farms was a little weak; I live in a rural area and two of my colleagues have farms, most of my colleagues have gardens and there are lots of small farms and farmer's markets around here. However, only a few of them are self-sustaining - most of the farmers I know have to work multiple outside jobs to make ends meet. Of course, that's not really in the scope of the book, I just thought it was a little on the rosy side when talking about how much work goes into being self-sustaining.

Verdict: Whether your population is urban or rural, this is a good resource to teach kids where their food comes from and get them involved in the process. I have high hopes of forming some kind of junior gardeners or children's garden program at some point in the future and have been collecting books on this subject in pursuit of that goal, so this definitely fits into our collection. It's briskly written and has lots of interesting facts. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781459804234; Published 2013 by Orca; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library
1 vote JeanLittleLibrary | Jul 2, 2013 |
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Looks at farming and the ways that children from different cultures help in the production and distribution of food around the world, with attention paid to environmental and food supply issues.

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