Reviews

Documentary time: A Place at the Table

A Place at the Table. Directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush. 84 minutes. Motto Pictures/Participant Media. 2012, $9.90 (DVD). ASIN: B00B119H1A

TL;DR: Do I recommend this movie? Yes

Genre: Documentary (film)

Film Summary:

This documentary focuses on the hunger crisis in America. Fifty million American people have inadequate access to food and go hungry. By following the stories of a doctor fighting the crisis, mothers trying to feed their children, teachers trying to help their students, and other individuals, the creators of this documentary show viewers the very real human faces of this issue.

Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:

A Place at the Table gives a very detailed look into the hunger crisis in America. While the topic and information can get very complex, the film always feels like something a tween could absorb and understand. By alternating speakers and showing different families who struggle with hunger, the filmmakers do a great job of showing that this issue is not isolated to one part of the country or age bracket. Furthermore, the filmmakers follow one mother in particular as she struggles with making too much to qualify for food stamps, then being able to qualify but having no job, and finally (after a year-long search) getting hired into a full-time position only to lose her food stamp qualification and have less food than ever for her family. It’s an extremely sad and thought-provoking film, and I agree with Caroline Knorr of Common Sense Media in that this film will help inspire kids to change the world.

Curriculum Ties/Library Use:

I found this documentary while looking for good documentaries for tweens. Caroline Knorr of Common Sense Media includes this film in a list of twelve documentaries that will inspire children to change the world. I would use this documentary as a part of a library unit (ideally in collaboration with a class at school) on hunger in the United States. In our collection, we also have Eric Schlosser’s Chew On This, so if a unit with a class were not doable, I would perhaps try to do a book club event utilizing Schlosser’s book and this documentary. (Idea from myself)

Grade Level: YA according to Titlewave; I would say 5-8.

Awards and Starred Reviews:

n/a

Reviews

Nerd desserts: The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook

Pansino, Rosanna. The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us. Atria Books, 2015. 256 pages. Hardcover $25.64, ISBN 978-1-50110-401-5

Interest Level: AD

Cuisine: Desserts

“Nerdy Nummies” is a popular YouTube cooking channel and show. While the recipes in this book are a bit beyond most tweens’ baking skills, this is a good title to consider for the adult collection, as it has quite a bit of “flip through” value for younger bakers. The pictures are stunning, and the attention to detail that Pansino displays in her recipes and process are good skills for young chefs to aspire to! Recipes include Apple Pi Pie (the apple pieces are cut with number-shaped cookie cutters before being seasoned and placed in the pie to make for even more mathematical fun!), Moon Phase Macarons (each phase of the moon is displayed on the top of each macaron, one phase per cookie!), Chemistry Lab Cake, and more.

Reviews

ChopChop — the book!

Sampson, Sally. ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2013. 185 pages. Tr. $17.04, ISBN 978-1-45168587-9

Interest Level: 3-6

Cuisine: Varied

This book is by Sally Sampson, the founder of the organization that publishes the previous entry, ChopChop the magazine. This book has great photographs, encouraging language when telling children that they can cook even difficult dishes, and also talks about food realistically (i.e., that breakfast on a school day can be a rushed meal!). The book also addresses children as equals (rather than being a book talking down to young chefs), so the tone was enjoyable. The reason I chose this book despite already opting to pay for a subscription by the same group (ChopChop Kids, founded by Sally Sampson) is that some children would feel better having another book to reference rather than just the rotating selection of magazines. I also count this separately from the magazines as it comes in a different format, so I would want to budget those two items differently.

Reviews

Mini-desserts: Mug Cakes

Bilderback, Leslie. Mug Cakes: 100 Speedy Microwave Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013. 168 pages. Tr. $19.59, ISBN 978-1-25002-658-3

Interest Level: AD

Cuisine: Desserts

Another dessert cookbook aimed at adults, Mug Cakes aligns perfectly with tweens’ desire to have quick and easy desserts available. Add to that the portion of a mug cake (a cake in a mug? Adorable!), and this book for adult bakers will be popular with younger readers. The book also has great “flip through” potential as the mugs in which cakes are prepared often match their contents; for example, the Victorian Rose mug cake is in a delightfully dainty looking mug. This book also covers “basics” of mug cakes before diving into the more sophisticated flavors and decoration options, so any interested tweens can get their bearings before jumping straight into the more complicated mug cakes.

Reviews

Hit it out of the park: The Ballpark Cookbook

Jorgensen, Katrina. Ballpark Cookbook: The American League: Recipes Inspired by Baseball Stadium Foods. Capstone Press (a Capstone Imprint), 2016. 63 pages. PLB $24.04, ISBN 978-1-49148-232-2

Interest Level: 3-6

Cuisine: Fast Food

This book contains recipes for foods inspired by snacks available at various baseball stadiums. While I was not able to evaluate this book in person, it sounded like a wonderful addition to any collection, especially in a library where some readers might want to learn more about foods but not necessarily prepare them (as Horn Book Guide points out, this book is “not for novice cooks”). The recipes that I could see on an Amazon book preview looked varied and interesting, and the photographs looked clear. It sounded like a fun and interesting addition to this purchase order, especially as I have already planned on ordering other themed cookbooks (Harry Potter, the “Gross” cakes, and the U.S. History themed cookbook). This book will have factoids to satisfy our Weird But True fans, and the actual recipes will be exciting experiments for our young chefs, particularly sports fans who might not yet have had a chance to visit other stadiums.

 

Reviews Referenced:

Horn Book Guide. (2016). (untitled) (Review of the book Ballpark Cookbook: The American League: Recipes Inspired by Baseball Stadium Foods). Horn Book      Guide, 27(2). Retrieved from http://www.hbook.com/horn-book-guide/

Willey, P. (2016, Apr. 12). Make me! Arts & activities | Series nonfiction. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2016/04/reviews/series-  made-simple/make-me-arts-activities-series-nonfiction/

Reviews

Show ’em how it’s done: Cooking for Kids

Cooking for Kids: Complete Volume 1. DVDTransfer.com, 2006. 254 minutes. 4 DVDs, $69.05. ISBN 978-0-9726945-8-2

Interest Level: 5-8

Cuisine: Varied

This video set includes six episodes of Desiree Dorwart, an instructor of culinary arts at The Art Institute International Minnesota, teaching children how to cook. I was not able to view the entire set, but I did find and watch a clip of the sushi episode. I really enjoyed how Dorwart teaches kids the steps in preparing sushi, and what I saw in that nearly nine-minute clip reinforced what I read in Stephanie Bange’s review of this series for School Library Journal: Dorwart is clear in her explanations, and when she talks to kids, she makes sure to tell them what they need to know without ever being condescending (Bange notes this in her review, too). The video I watched was well lit, and the camera angles are good and allow viewers to see what is happening and understand what they need to do at home. Viewers also get to see kids cooking, so it is not just a video of an adult cooking while children watch. The reason I chose this video series was because some young chefs would prefer to have a video to watch rather than trying to teach themselves how to cook out of a book. It is helpful to see what a process is like before doing it oneself, and for kids who want to figure out cooking on their own, having a video to watch will help them be more independent in their cooking journeys.

 

Review referenced:

Bange, S. (2006, Dec. 1). Cooking for kids (Review of the video Cooking for Kids). School Library Journal 52(12). Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/

 

Video watched:

Cooking.For.Kids (screen name). (n. d.). Sushi roll recipe. ifood.tv. Retrieved from             http://ifood.tv/cooking/13545-sushi-roll-recipe

Reviews

Magazine! ChopChop

ChopChop Magazine. Belmont, MA: ChopChop Kids. 4 issues yearly. $14.95 per year

Interest Level: 3-8

Cuisine: Varied

This magazine is a resource for families who want to get cooking together. The issues include wonderful columns such as ideas for being more active (“Lead the Way—Take a Walk After Dinner” is one in the Fall 2016 issue), interviews with young activists or food experts, and fun food-themed puzzles and games such as mazes and word searches. Recipes include many great photos, including step-by-step photos for more complex actions in recipes (i.e., how to flip a quesadilla in the pan). Children of varying ages are shown doing age-appropriate cooking tasks; for example, photos of a little boy named Liam show him helping to shake something up and do other tasks safe for a very young child to do in the kitchen. Older children are shown using blenders and chopping vegetables. Captions also explain what each child is doing, naming children by name so that the information is made more concrete rather than a more abstract direction (i.e., “Liam is mixing…” instead of “Mix the ingredients”). The reason I chose to add this subscription is because it has a lot to offer a library collection. Not only is it endorsed and reviewed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it was also named “publication of the year” by the James Beard Foundation, an honor that Judy Bolton-Fasman of Huffington Post points out is “the equivalent of an Oscar in the food world” (2013). Each issue has a theme, and it is filled with recipes and ideas based on that quarter’s cooking theme. This means that plenty of new recipes will be coming in every few months for kids to try. It also shows children of varying ages cooking; this helps reinforce the idea that kids are able to cook, and this may help children stick with wanting to learn even when new recipes are hard. Finally, the interviews and other supplementary material give kids something else to look at while flipping through; they can learn other things about nutrition as they browse recipes.

 

Review referenced:

Bolton-Fasman, J. (2013, Sept. 9). Cooking fun, cooking healthy with ChopChop Magazine and Cookbook. Huffington Post. Retrieved from             http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judy-boltonfasman/cooking-fun-cooking-  healt_b_3893517.html

Reviews · Uncategorized

The International Cookbooks

The International Cookbooks

Locricchio, Matthew. The International Cookbook for Kids. Illustrated by Jack McConnell. Two Lions (Amazon Children’s Publishing Imprint), c2004, p2012. 175 pages. Tr. $11.09, ISBN 978-0-7614-6313-9

Interest Level: 5-8

Locricchio, Matthew. The 2nd International Cookbook for Kids. Illustrated by Jack McConnell. Two Lions, 2008. 176 pages. Tr. $11.09, ISBN 978-1-50394-648-4

Interest Level: 3-6

Cuisine: Varied

These are two cookbooks that introduce children to different cultures as well as foods from those cultures. Each book includes introductory information on various places, ingredients from those places that are most commonly used in cooking there, and other cultural information. Then, recipes from those places (i.e., Greece, Italy, Mexico, China) are featured. There are no step-by-step photos for the preparation of these recipes, but the photographs included are very clear and engaging. The photographs also do not look “dated” as some children’s cookbooks occasionally do (for example, the Cooking the ____ Way series). Furthermore, backmatter for the first book includes tips on kitchen safety, cooking terms, and what tools are used in the kitchen; all of these sections are great ways for kids to learn more about what is involved in cooking. The reason I opted to include these two cookbooks is because the books themselves are fairly large and easy to read, a very important element for any cookbook, but especially for younger chefs who may need to take time going through recipes more than once. Tiny print in a tiny book that refuses to stay open is useless, so this book’s large format and print make this a great book for tweens who are just getting started.

 

Reviews Referenced:

Horn Book Guide. (2005, Spring). (untitled) (Review of the book The International           Cookbook for Kids). Horn Book Guide, 81(2). Retrieved from             http://www.hbook.com/horn-book-guide/

Library Media Connection. (2005, April/May). (untitled) (Review of the book The            International Cookbook for Kids). Library Media Connection, 23(7). Retrieved          from http://www.abc-clio.com/LibrariesUnlimited.aspx

Publishers Weekly. (2005, Jan. 10). The international cookbook for kids (Review of the     book The International Cookbook for Kids). Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from            http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7614-5185-3

Burner, J. A. (2005, Jan. 1). The international cookbook for kids (Review of the book The            International Cookbook for Kids). School Library Journal, 51(1). Retrieved from           http://www.slj.com/