Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons picture book, The Vegetables We Eat, "is a clear, informative introduction to eight groups of vegetables...A simple, effective approach to the topic." ~ School Library Journal. The facts presented for each of these vegetables is laid out to be asthetically pleasing for younger children and easy to comprehend in text. "Vegetables grow to be different shapes, sizes, and colors."

The bright and cheerful watercolor illustrations are quite suitable for the text, allowing for children to get a close up view to each food presented page after page. The varying scenes give readers an additional perspective on the process of how vegetables grow on a farm, who is involved in their production, how they are produced and then eventually sold to stores. While the text is simplistic, Gibbons incorporates vocabulary and its definition with words such as fertilizers and hyroponics that can be geared for students at the upper elementary level.

Gibbons comments on a ReadingRockets interview that she tries hard to make her nonfiction books "visually exciting." "I want to make nonfiction visually exciting, but it's sort of natural for me to do that. I mean I love bright colors, and I love doing my artwork. But when I'm plotting out a book, because of my graphic design background and because of the television background, I can sort of visualize while I'm writing what is going to be on the next page. And I don't want it to be boring. I want it to be visually exciting. I will never pick a topic that I think is dull or uninteresting. It has to be something that I want to dig in and be curious about."

I could see teachers, even nurses, introducing the skill of classifying vegetables, according to size, color, characteristics, and how to effectively implement the number of servings needed each day. The more fun students have with these types of activities while reading, the more inclined they will be try something new!

With all of the school-wide initiatives in healthy eating habits, this story couldn't have better timing. The wealth of information that this book provides will assist readers in understanding what kinds of vegetables exist and how important it they are in order to maintain healthy and active lives.

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