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Add Three New Books to Your "Nutrition" Plan (and Stir)!

Three hot new books explore the language, science, math, and citizenship of nutrition. (Recipes included!)

Teaching about nutrition this month? (March is National Nutrition Month!) Cook up some fun with a few new books on nutrition-related topics!

Enormous Carrot Book Cover If language and citizenship are on your classroom menu, be sure to share The Enormous Carrot with your students! It's a new picture book that students of all ages will enjoy. Young students will love the book's engaging and predictable text. All students will enjoy the playful language and the beautiful illustrations. But, most important of all is the book's message -- a message for everyone about working together to solve problems. Even those thought most unlikely to help out shouldn't be underestimated!

Vladimir Vagin, author and illustrator of this new book from Scholastic Press, based his story on a tale about a turnip that he heard as a child in his native Russia. One by one we are introduced to the book's animal characters, as each attempts to help rabbits Daisy and Floyd uproot a colossal carrot from their garden. They tug and the lug, grunt and groan, holler and haul. Then along comes Lester, the mouse. "You're much too small [to help]," says Claire, the cat. But, of course, Lester's petite pull exposes the concealed produce! The "Carrot Feast" celebration that follows -- complete with carrot cake, carrot soup, carrot pie and about 20 other carrot menu items -- provides a perfect ending. After the enormous effort to uncover the enormous carrot, the enormous celebration is the prelude to an ENORMOUS rest!

Kids of all ages will enjoy The Enormous Carrot (I won't say it!) IMMENSELY!


Here's a kids' cookbook with a twist. More than fifty kid-tested recipes in this book encourage young chefs to play with their food! The recipes call for kids to bash, mash, smash, squish, squeeze, and shake their way to healthful snacking. (No sharp knives, mixers, or blenders needed.)

Mash & Smash Book CoverThe Mash & Smash Cookbook is packed full of recipes for tasty delicacies such as tuna wheels (hollow out a bit of the center of a thickly sliced cucumber and fill with tuna) and pizza stuffers (fill quartered pita pockets with tomato sauce and cheese and pop into a toaster oven). Want to create a great snack in your classroom? Try the recipe for sizzling salsa! Looking for a cool treat for a warm spring afternoon? How about jamsicles? Let students work in groups of four to mix cup of plain yogurt and 4 tablespoons of their favorite jam. Divide the ingredients into four popsicle molds or paper cups and freeze for 2-3 hours. Voila!

The Mash & Smash Cookbook (written by Marian Buck-Murray, illustrated by Ralph Butler, and published by John Wiley & Sons) has lots more going for it than the tasty recipes! Students are introduced to cooking terminology and a simple measurement chart. Fun facts about foods can be found in the margins on many pages. Recipes are divided into chapters for easy accessibility. Looking for breakfast recipes? Check out "Breakfast Bites." Other chapters include Goodwiches; Sips, Dips, and Crisps; Side Dish Funnies; Supper Stuff; and Sweetie Treats and Freezer Pleasers.

Best of all, each recipe is coded. A simple symbol indicates the recipe's difficulty. Recipes with a "one hand" symbol are simple to make and require no can opening or oven. Recipes with "two hands" might require using a toaster oven or a tool such as a grater, peeler, or can opener. "Three hand" recipes might demand an adult's help at the stovetop.

The Mash & Smash Cookbook is a "smashing" good time!


The last book on our list this week gets to the science of nutrition. Specifically, the book examines what happens to all that good, nutritious food we eat. Look at Your Body Digestion, from Copper Beech Books, is an everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know guide to the human digestive system.

Digestion Book CoverLook at Your Body Digestion opens with an introduction to the importance of food. A circle graph shows how much of the energy our bodies create from food is used by the brain, muscles, the liver, and other body parts. (Did you know that the brain is the body's largest consumer of energy? All the more reason to eat a good breakfast before going to school!) Simple illustrations reveal how many calories are burned up in performing some common activities for one minute; explanatory text defines how much food is required to produce the energy to perform those activities.

After this introduction, author Steve Parker traces the food we eat as it travels through the body's digestive system. Two-page spreads are devoted to the mouth; teeth; stomach; small intestines; liver, gall bladder, and pancreas; and the large intestine.

A mix of large bold photographs, x-ray and microscopic images, and illustrations (by Ian Thompson and Sandra Doyle) help students "digest" the book's comprehensive text. The large images break up pages that tend to be pretty text intensive. Students will learn lots of amazing facts along the way!

Look at Your Body Digestion is one book in a series geared to students in middle level science classes. Additional tiles in the series are devoted to blood, muscles, the lungs, the senses, and the skeleton.

The three titles on this week's BOOKS IN EDUCATION page are available at bookstores. If you can't locate a book, ask your local bookseller to order it for you. The Enormous Carrot, written and illustrated by Vladimir Vagin, is published by Scholastic Press, 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.

The Mash & Smash Cookbook, written by Marian Buck-Murray and illustrated by Ralph Butler, is published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158-0012. (212)850-6011.

Look at Your Body Digestion, written by Steve Parker and illustrated by Ian Thompson and Sandra Doyle, is published by Copper Beech Books (an imprint of The Millbrook Press), 2 Old Milford Road, Brookfield, CT 06804.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1998 Education World