From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 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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“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. Preschool-Grade 2. --Gillian Engberg