Apples and Oranges: Going Bananas with Pairs – Book Review

Word association takes on a whole new level in Sara Pinto’s picture book. At the beginning, the reader is immediately faced with the question, “How are an apple and an orange alike?” When the page is turned, the obvious answer isn’t given; instead the reader will enjoy seeing that the answer is, “They both don’t wear glasses.”

Some other pairs Pinto puts together to get your little one thinking: spoon and fork; rabbit and armadillo; starfish and octopus; and mug and teacup.

My personal favorite: trousers and underpants…”they both don’t make good hats.”

The artwork is creative and silly. Your child will love seeing a cupcake scuba dive and a book going out for sushi. It’s so fun to read!

Will Sugar Drinks Eventually be Taxed?

I read an article in this Sunday’s Tribune entitled, Many are no longer sweet on soft drinks. I was intrigued by the title, but mostly its byline: Communities, hospitals and others coast to coast are considering bans or taxes to curb consumption and combat obesity.

That’s a bold move considering every American consumes roughly 150 pounds of sugar a year (according to Dr. Oz).  The article mainly talks about adding taxes to sodas or banning sugary drinks from vending machines in hospitals, parks, and libraries. New York City is even talking about banning super-sized drinks from restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting events.

This got me thinking: Shouldn’t schools also be included in this “push”? If some hospitals in Chicago can replace energy drinks and sodas with bottled water, why can’t we do that in our public schools? Don’t these soda companies make bottled water too? I know that schools get some kickback for having vending machines in their buildings.  But why can’t these machines be filled with water and low-sugar juices?

If this idea is bogus, what about educating parents and children as to how much sugar they are drinking? Some hospitals in Boston are putting nutrition labels on the fountain drinks that show how much sugar is about to be consumed.  When I taught a one-week unit on nutrition (in one of my business classes) my favorite website to show my students was Sugar Stacks. This site gives you a visual as to how much sugar you are consuming for popular foods (cookies, soda, veggies, etc.).

I found it interesting that other popular drinks weren’t mentioned in the article. Mainly: Major coffee brand’s iced coffees and “milkshakes”.  How hard would these companies be hit if there was a ban or tax on its delicious creations?

How do you feel about banning or taxing sugary drinks? Is it so bad that lawmakers have to get involved? Do we need better nutrition education at the primary level?   

 Image from: New Public Health

Yum Yum Dim Sum– Book Review

Author Amy Wilson Sanger creatively introduces your little one to the delicious Chinese custom of dim sum.

The rolling cart is introduced immediately and offers many authentic dishes, from dau fu to spring rolls. If you are unsure of what some of the culinary delights are there is a glossary at the back of the board book (it is educational and fun for the adults too)!

Sanger uses rhyming text that is catchy and amusing. Her illustrations are unique – using textiles, paper and crafts to tell her story.

As dim sum means “a bit of heart”, this book does a wonderful job showing the different foods that touch the heart of the foodie partaking in this Chinese cuisine.

Press Here – Book Review

As a series of commands are presented on each page, this unique book allows children to use their imaginations.

Starting with a single yellow dot, the reader creates more dots, changes colors, increases sizes, shifts the dots from left to right, shakes the dots all over the pages, and even turns the “lights” off.

Although a one-dimensional book, it is completely interactive from start to finish.

Press Here is written and illustrated by French author Hervé Tullet.  Don’t let the cover fool you; Tullet’s simplicity creates such wonder and imagination.  Your child will want to read it over and over again.

Larry Gets Lost in Chicago – Book Review

Larry Gets Lost in Chicago is a light-hearted story of a dog (Larry) that tags along on an adventure with his owner’s family. The book begins by introducing Larry and his owner (Pete…a little boy) taking the Metra into the city.

The family walks around the Magnificent Mile, grabs a Chicago-style hotdog at Navy Pier, and waits for a train on the platform. As the family enters a train, Larry gets distracted and does not get on it. As the train leaves, Larry boards a different one in hopes to find his family.

Major Chicago landmarks are presented in a colorful and unique way. Larry looks for Pete at Wrigley Field, while Pete looks for Larry at US Cellular Field. Pete ends up at the John Hancock Center at the same time that Larry is in the Willis Tower.

As the story unfolds, you also get to read about (in caption form) what the Chicago icons are all about.  And, yes, Larry does eventually find his friend.

Author Michael Mullin uses a poetic pen to tell this series. Other places Larry gets lost in: San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles.

I Like Vegetables – Book Review

Carrots, peas, corn, and pumpkin are the veggies highlighted in Lorena Siminovich’s board book.

I Like Vegetables teaches toddlers about colors, counting, opposites, shapes and textures. Each veggie is illustrated on two pages, allowing for your little one to focus on the produce at hand.

The objects are drawn in different angles and sizes. You see peas in their shell and out of their shell. You see two whole pumpkins and one sliced open. There are many shapes that can be identified, both on the veggies and in the background artwork.

The book closes with an empty picnic basket on one page and a full one (of vegetables, of course) on the other. Although a quick read you could spend a good amount of time on all that this book has to offer.

My Foodie ABC: A Little Gourmet’s Guide – Book Review

Attention all Foodies:

This gourmet board book not only helps teach your little ones the ABCs but also introduces them to some fun foods.

Puck, the author, doesn’t use the typical “A is for apple” approach. With the trendy illustrations (by Violet Lemay) he writes as if your toddler has the gastronomical gene inherited by both mom and dad.

Both upper and lowercases are displayed for each of the 26 letters. All foods (like alfajores, habanero, quinoa, and udon) are shown with the correct pronunciation and description of each food.

After reading this, you’ll feel as if you’ve just been on a culinary tour around the world.