Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Sylvia's Spinach

Title: Sylvia's Spinach
Illustrator: Anna Raff
Publisher: Readers to Eaters
Pages: 32
Review copy: Final copy from publisher
Availability: On shelves now - hardcover and paperback

Summary: Sylvia Spivens hates spinach. Bleh! But what will a picky eater do when her teacher hands her spinach seeds to plant in the school garden? Will it be joy—or agony? Join Sylvia as she discovers the magic of growing food from the ground up and what happens when you give something new a try.

Review: In November, I listened to this article, 'Why These Kids Love Kale' on NPR. The students love Kale because they have planted, worked in the garden, and prepared their food. When I read Sylvia's Spinach, I couldn't help but think of that article. It seems like an impossibility that students would change their attitudes toward certain foods after such a short time, but it can certainly happen. The book shares Sylvia's journey through the growing season and her changing ideas about spinach. It is certainly focused on a teaching point, but has cheerful, lighthearted illustrations. Primary students learning about seeds or plants would likely relate well to the story. Schools with gardening programs could benefit from having this in the school and classroom libraries - especially in the spring. The author also provides some classroom activity ideas on her website. I'm excited to share this with our gardening co-ordinator and with first grade when they begin to plant their lettuce.

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