Reviews for Grow Your Own Soup

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 January

Gr 2-4--These hybrids cover a variety of garden-related topics seemingly chosen for their child appeal. The first title presents information on raising butterflies along with wildflower gardening. The edibles in the other three books include the tomato in Sandwich and the pumpkin in Soup. The most unusual of the lot is Snack, which showcases the broad bean or fava, much more commonly grown and eaten outside of North America. Each title takes readers through the steps of indoor germination, transplanting, pollination, and eventually harvesting. Stock photos are sharp and colorful, gracing every page. Each closing section gives simple cooking directions, the most complicated being the pumpkin soup. Major cutting, peeling, and frying instructions request adult assistance. Glossary terms are in bold type in the oversize text. Pairing gardening instructions with a cooking lesson seems like a perfect combination but the superficial treatment in these titles is a setup for disappointment. The challenge of growing wildflowers when there are so many easier-to-grow and butterfly-attracting choices is puzzling. No mention is made of insect pests, fungal diseases, weather problems, and the myriad transplanting and indoor germination challenges. Under the tutelage of an experienced gardener-cook, these titles might work, but then who would need them?--Carol S. Surges, Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI

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