Thursday, March 3, 2011

Something to devour

Who Wants Pizza?: the kids’ guide to the history, science & culture of food by Jan Thornhill (641.3 ThW 2010) presents a tremendous amount of information about the whole topic of food, not just pizza.  In effect, this books considers human history, anatomy, and current events (issues around food production, access to food and population growth, health issues such as obesity, sugar intake) – everything but the kitchen sink I think.

What a great little book!  Pizza - the ubiquitous food ‘group’ with great kid appeal – is the starting point of the book.  But do kids know what goes into making it?  Thornhill delves into everything from crust to toppings; from why we need to eat in the first place and what nutrients are needed for a healthy diet to a historical look at what people have eaten and how (raw, cooked, preserved, processed, etc.); from the impact of the domestication of plants and animals to the food industry and current production trends.  She includes information about the impact of our choices and why it’s important to think about what we eat and where it comes from.

It’s a lot to take in, but you can take it in ‘bite sizes’ (yeah, okay, bad pun) that makes it manageable.  For classroom use, it could provide an interesting platform for cross-curricular connections (math, science, history, current events, health).  It’s a veritable feast (a buffet, if you will) of information, trivia, photographs and illustrations that will provide lots of food for thought. (Okay, enough with the puns.)

I think Who Wants Pizza? will appeal to kids in grades 5 to 9.


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