I was first introduced to this book by a home daycare provider at a Farm to ECE training event this past fall and was really impressed by what I saw! The next day, I hopped on Amazon and placed an order and as Christmas approached, I ordered another as a gift for my nephew. The story and illustrations demonstrate a multitude of positive health messages throughout. In fact, I have never seen another children's book cover such a wide array of useful health information.
The story begins with a family with two small children and a baby getting ready to go on a picnic at the park later that day. To shop for the foods needed, they set out on foot and bike to their community garden plot, to the farmer's market, and to a grocery store before returning home to unload groceries and prep items for the picnic. They enjoy their picnic meal, then spend time at the park playing soccer, flying a kite, playing with their dog, and simply enjoying nature. As the story is told, the following lessons are discussed:
Importance of breakfast every morning
Where families can buy, grow, or consume food and drinks
Importance of eating plenty of vegetables and fruit and a variety of other healthy foods each day
Cultural food differences
The effect of hunger on our mood and energy level and why healthy snacks between meals are beneficial
Why our bodies need plenty of water
How different foods have different nutrients and what those nutrients do for our bodies
Trying new foods and how it may take several tries before liking a new food
Why it’s ok to eat sweets sometimes, but not too much because sugar is not good for us
Avoiding sweetened beverages such as fruit drinks and soda
How food allergies and intolerances work
Why we need to move our bodies and also get adequate rest, but not spend too much time watching TV or playing on a computer
Encouragement to go outside everyday
The written content is jam-packed with excellent information, but what impressed me even more were the thoughtful illustrations. The family is bi-racial, the mother is shown breastfeeding their infant on one page, the father baby wears, and the milk and egg packaging have a cow and a chicken on them to clearly depict where the foods originate. When other families are shown in the park, they are black, Asian, and white.
While the events of this day may not be realistic for a family in a rural or suburban area or urban food desert that can’t feasibly walk to a farmer’s market, store, or park, the messages are still relevant and educational.
Overall, I think this book was incredibly well done and deserves to be in the hands of anyone caring for and teaching young children.