A collection of lively poems celebrate edible delights from the farmers market.
Fruits and vegetables are not just food, but muses for poet and author Latham and illustrator Moriuchi. Written mostly in free verse, clever poems show farmers market produce in a new light. Cucumbers become larger than life: “a fleet / of green / submarines / in a wicker / sea.” Thoughts about corn echo a child’s curiosity: “I don’t know / why / they call it / an ear / when / I see / rows / upon rows / of tiny / noses.” In addition to viewing their subjects as submersibles or facial features, poems evoke the touch, taste, and smell of items such as honey, watermelon, and even an onion: “Remove / its hairy / roots, / peel its / old-man / skin. / Taste / where / it’s been.” Moriuchi’s colorful collages pair perfectly with Latham’s poems. Her illustrations depict animals in delightful situations: a rabbit carries a lettuce umbrella, and mice fence with fuzzy okra swords. This poetry collection will inspire readers to rush to the farmers market to compare Latham’s images with their real-life counterparts. Kid-friendly recipes are also included at the end of the book.
Whimsical poems will inspire readers to play with their fruits and vegetables.
As bright and colorful as the fresh food it celebrates, this picture book features 21 poems (including one on the back cover), six healthy snack recipes, and Moriuchi’s lively illustrations. Most of Latham’s poems are pithy odes to particular fruits and vegetables, but the first and last ones discuss the opening and closing of a farmers’ market. Here, too, are paeans to some other market staples: basil, farm-fresh eggs, and wild honey. Latham lets the food items dictate the form and feeling of each poem, as with “Onion” (“Remove its hairy roots, / peel its old-man skin. / Taste where it’s been”). Using acrylic paints and collage, Moriuchi
has created pictures that stay away from strict realism. The market’s customers and the food appreciators are animals of all types: a frog rides a bicycle, a giraffe and hippo play pirates, a moose rows in a boat filled with purple hull peas. Food selection and preparation is rarely such a fun adventure. — Abby Nolan
Regardless of the season, readers can get a taste of the fruits and vegetables available at the height of summer in 21 appetizing poems. Latham (Dear Wandering Wildebeest) includes metaphors for various foods (okra is “a mountain/ of mouse-sized/ swords/ stored in fuzzy/ sheaths”), as well as reflections on the sensory experience of eating them; in “Peach,” she writes, “When your/ baby-fuzz/ cheek/ meets my/ hopeful nose,/ the world/ explodes/ with sweetness.” Moriuchi’s (The Very Best Teacher!) vibrant acrylic collages feature toylike animals enjoying lettuce, corn, onions, and more, and she runs with the visual images that appear in Latham’s poems, such as the idea of an egg carton as a treasure chest or cucumbers as “a fleet/ of green/ submarines/ in a wicker/ sea.” Half a dozen recipes cap off a lighthearted celebration of food at peak freshness. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. Illustrator’s agency: Arena Illustration. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
A collection of poetry that features a variety of foods found at the farmers market. The subject matter ranges from lettuce to wild honey and everything in between. While there are a few offerings that convey the excitement of a farmers market, many miss their mark and seem forced. Several examples, such as “Basil,” seem more like short observations on a vegetable or fruit. Those
with little understanding of poetic license are not likely to understand the author’s intention and may find this work difficult to engage with. The bright, pleasant illustrations, which feature cut-paper animals, work well to enhance the atmosphere and convey the actions of the verse. A few child-friendly recipes are
appended. VERDICT An additional purchase only.–Ellen Norton, Naperville Public Library, Naperville, IL
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