Reviews for Compost Stew : An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

Booklist Reviews 2010 February #2
"Environmental chefs, / here's a recipe for you / . . . to mix a batch / of Compost Stew." With bouncing, rhyming lines, this cheerful title uses the alphabet to introduce children to ingredients that make great compost, from apple cores to zinnias "whose blooming days are through." The text includes some creative solutions for typically challenging letters ("Xmas tree needles"), and kids will have fun chanting along with the refrain: "Just add to the pot / and let it all rot / into Compost Stew." A short supplementary note about what compost is and why it is beneficial is included, along with an explanation for a few obscure ingredients, such as "quarry dust." This title highlights a subject rarely covered in youth books and provides a lighthearted introduction to an earth- and kid-friendly activity. The brightly patterned collage artwork featuring a cast of multicultural kids working together will easily draw a young audience. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Bouncy, rhyming verse suggests compost items in alphabetical order: "Mulch removed from garden beds / Nutshells / Oatmeal / Paper shreds." Though purists will balk at the illustration of metal staples on teabags being tossed into the stew, especially when the backmatter decrees "not a shred of metal" should be added, the gouache and collage art is otherwise cheerful and inviting. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 March #1
A rollicking, rhyming alphabetical recipe for making successful compost. Aiming at young readers and even younger listeners, Siddals keeps the tone light while providing easy instructions on how everyone can participate in this eco-friendly activity. Bright pictures in collage created with recycled and found items are not only well-executed but recall the texture of the materials and tactile experience of the characters in the book. Wolff features a diverse cast of people of all ages collecting, saving, hauling and tossing ingredients to "[j]ust add to the pot / and let it all rot / into Compost Stew." Kids will also enjoy spotting the frisky Dalmatian and/or helpful duck on each spread. The title begins with an author's note explaining the roles of lesser-known items and why they make good compost and closes with a "Chef's Note" cautioning all to pay special attention to local regulations as those presented are general recommendations. Consider this recipe an ideal, accessible title to expand composting information for budding environmentalists. (Informational picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 March #2

"Environmental chefs,/ here's a recipe for you/ to fix from scratch/ to mix a batch/ of Compost Stew," invites a girl with curly titian hair. Letters stand for different components of what goes into a compost pile, and Wolff's cut-paper collages depict a multicultural group of kids, as well as a dalmatian and a goose, working together to collect material ("Dirt clods, crumbled,/ Eggshells, crushed/ Fruit pulp left behind, all mushed"): "And when the cooking is complete,/ Mother Earth will/ have a treat,/ dark and crumbly,/ rich and sweet." An exuberant primer for green-minded kids. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 April

K-Gr 4--An easy recipe for soil enrichment. Well written in rhyming text, the descriptive phrases are as engaging as a list of, well, garbage might be: "Dirt clods, crumbled/Eggshells crushed/Fruit pulp left behind, all mushed/Grass clippings/Hair snippings/and an Insect or two/Just add to the pot/and let it all rot/into Compost Stew." Collage illustrations, also made of recycled ingredients, reinforce the theme of reusing materials to create something new. As colorful and charming as the compositions are, the human and animal figures are flat and uninspiring. Student environmental groups might use this recipe to expand school recycling efforts and create compost for vegetable and flower gardens, or to give away to community members. Using cafeteria scraps, recycled paper, and grass clippings would teach students how to make this rich, robust stew work for their own school gardens and, literally and figuratively, improve the earth. This book is recommended as a general addition to library collections and a primary selection for in-school environmental education. Use it with Linda Glaser's Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow (Millbrook, 2010), Raymond Bial's A Handful of Dirt (Walker, 2000), or Bianca Lavies's Compost Critters (Dutton, 1993).--Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME

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