Day 47 – The Fruit Bowl and Vegetable Soup

Like many parents, we began to focus more on healthy eating after the birth of our first child. Unfortunately, at the same time we noticed that junk food played a role (sometimes the primary role) in many of the board books and story books we found to read together, and we became interested in finding books that would help to normalize the idea of eating fresh, healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Tonight’s book was one we discovered back then and have kept in our collection ever since.

“The Fruit Bowl/Vegetable Soup” by Dianne Warren and Susan Smith Jonesfruit bowl is a two-for-one collection of short poems about fruits and vegetables. I say two-for-one because it really is two books bound together in one volume; “The Fruit Bowl” begins on one side and ends near the middle of the book – at which point you can flip the book around and read “Vegetable Soup” from the other side back toward the middle as well. Both collections of poems are alphabetized – “Vegetable Soup” actually walks through the entire alphabet – and the poems are frequently filled with alliteration (which can be helpful for beginning readers as well).

What we particularly like about this book is that it is a simple introduction to all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables in a format that is attractive to young children. It is not preachy, nor does it push or denigrate any particular dietary choice. I also recommend perusing the “To The Reader” page in the middle of the book before reading aloud. In this section, the authors provide some insight into the time and care they took putting this book together – time and care intended to help make the book more interactive. They suggest opportunities for discussion (e.g., “Broccoli begins with “B”, can you think of any other fruits or vegetables that begin with “B”?, or “How many peas can we count in this pod?”), and point out the extra details provided in the illustrations on each page (e.g., the pictures in the margins of “The Fruit Bowl” show the growth cycle for the fruit in question).

I will admit that the illustrations on the cover of the book don’t look quite as polished as some children’s fare, but the drawings and poems in the book caught the attention of our youngest, and we think it is a worthy addition to our 365 storybook reading list.

Disclaimer: please note that, the importance of healthy eating notwithstanding, we do have plans to enjoy Chocolate Mint Day to its fullest this Friday. We hope you do too.

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