4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for the Rocky Mountain Book Awards
Well everyone, I think this might be the first non-fiction book I have reviewed on this site. If not, it is one of the few. I generally tend to read next to no non-fiction. Years of schooling have ingrained nonfiction as being work while fiction has always remained my pleasure reading. Being the responsible adult that I am, however, I think I need to read out of my comfort level occasionally and that means some non-fiction. It also helps that the RMB Awards need nonfiction as well as fiction.
It is hard to review something when you have little to nothing to compare it to. I have not read a children’s non-fiction title since I was a child and, while I am not wizened yet, that was still a little while ago. As such, this review is going to be very heavily based on my intuitive impressions and has little to do with a nuanced understanding of this type of book and its tropes and characteristics.
My first impression was just that this was more enjoyable than I was expecting. I could maybe adjust to reading more non-fiction more easily than anticipated! Go team!
Secondly, despite the fairly serious subject matter, there are some moments of humour and levity to lighten the mood. The book approaches most major aspects of food (nutrition, production, advertising) and intersperses the serious stuff, like factory farming, with other, cute facts that aren’t mentally scarring. The chapters are nicely paced and of suitable length. Interspersed are smaller, tidbit sized paragraphs of weird facts to make the text more attractive and less textbook-like. It works well both as a cover to cover read and a pick-up-and-flip-until-something-catches-your-eye style read.
The approaches to moral issues were boringly straightforward and well-balanced (a little controversy is sometimes nice) and that brings me to my one concern about this book. I don’t know who this is intended for. The description on Goodreads makes it sound like it is a Teen read, but the writing style is so simple that is seems like it is written for younger kids. I guess I would have expected a book for teens to take more of a stance on some of the issues around food instead of being so neutral.
Overall a good introduction to many aspects of food without spending too much time on detail, but the uncertainty about the audience makes me uneasy. What type of patron do I recommend this to?