There are lots of books about farming and food, but not all of them portray farming very accurately. While Charlotte’s Web is a great book, it’s not a very true story of what farming is actually like. (A talking pig with a spider for a best friend? Cute, and a great novel, but not how things really work.)
There are lots of books that do talk about food and farming accurately, in a way that is easy to understand. I thought that a few times a month I would share some of these books with you. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has a large list of “accurate ag” books, and they select a new book every year as their “Book of the Year.” I’d like to start with the AFBFA’s Book of the Year for 2012 – Chris Butterworth’s “How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?”
The story starts with a full lunchbox, with things your child might get to eat at school.
There is a row of Holstein dairy cows lines up being milked so we have milk to make the cheese for sandwiches.
I love the time-lapse illustration of how carrots grow underground. This picture shows a couple of rabbits helping the farmer with his carrot harvest… This isn’t quite “accurate ag” since rabbits are considered pests on a farm, but maybe I’m splitting hares here. Er, hairs. (Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.)
For a few of the foods, Chris gives a nice step-by-step process of how it is made into what you get in your lunchbox, like this diagram of how chocolate is made from cocoa beans.
And, of course, we finish off with an empty lunchbox!
“How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?” is listed as appropriate for grades K-2 (ages 5-8 years), but I think it is just a little bit dense for younger kids (especially the chocolate page). The illustrations are great, and the language is easy to understand. There is a lot of information packed into a short book and I think older kids might be able to pay attention to it a little better. (But the last students I taught were veterinary students, so I may not be the best judge of what elementary-age kids are reading these days.)
What do you think? Will you check out “How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?” Do you have any suggestions for a book you’d like me to review? Let me know!
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