By: Annette Roeder
Illustrated by: Olaf Hajek
Published: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Prestel Junior
If you are having a hard time getting your children to eat vegetables or want to introduce them to the various vegetables available to them, this is a great book for starting the conversation. Maybe you are planning a garden? This book will help you and your kids decide which vegetables to plant.
Annette Roeder’s enticing descriptions of vegetables and their history combined with Olaf Hajek’s amazing artwork, make this a book to look through again and again. Roeder begins with an introduction to the book and an explanation of what really is a vegetable like a rhubarb is really a vegetable, not a fruit as it is characterized. Then pages are dedicated to describing the vegetable(s) alongside an artistic expression of that vegetable by Hajek. Kids (and likely adults) will learn unique history about vegetables as well as tips for how to eat them. The end of the description offers the varieties of the vegetable so you can look for them at the store or for their seeds at the garden center.
I grew up eating parsnips all the time even though I rarely see them in stores now and never hear people talk about having them for supper. Parsnips share a page with their vegetable cousin, the carrot. They can be similarly prepared and eaten and are grown in the same way. Surprisingly, I loved parsnips as a child and encourage your family to look for them this summer at farmer’s markets and try them.
Beets get a bad rap, but that is also another vegetable I have loved since childhood. The art by Hajek for the beet page is absolutely stunning. Beets can be used for dying clothing, eggs, or your pee if you eat too many. This is another wonderful vegetable to try with your kids…cold or hot…pickled or plain….they just might like it.
The author also shares more mainstream vegetables like peas, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes, so there is plenty for your child to learn and appreciate about the vegetables they eat. I had no idea there was so much history to learn about vegetables from the country they originated from to how they have been prepared over the years.
The end of the book shares thoughts and inspiration from Olaf Hajek about his love for vegetables and of course, his work as an illustrator. After reading, you’ll want to go back through and look at his illustrations more closely. This is an oversized book and one you will want to keep out all summer as you watch your veggies grow.