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Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food Hardcover – May, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up An important addition to most libraries. Useful for health classes and nutrition units, it will also be an eye-opener for general readers who regularly indulge at the Golden Arches. An adaptation of Schlosser's Fast Food Nation (Houghton, 2001), Chew on This covers the history of the fast-food industry and delves into the agribusiness and animal husbandry methods that support it. From the 37-day life of the pre-McNugget chicken to the appallingly inhumane conditions of slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants, the author lays out the gruesome details behind the tasty burgers and sandwiches. Equally disturbing is his revelation of the way that the fast-food giants have studied childhood behavior and geared their commercials and free toy inclusions to hook the youngest consumers. The text is written in a lively, lay-out-the-facts manner. Occasional photographs add bits of visual interest, but the emphasis here is on the truth about soda pop and obesity, fries and lies. Schlosser is a crusader writing with an obviously strong purpose. While at times veering toward the inflammatory edge, he backs up and documents all of his points, ensuring that his insights will incite. Those seeking a book to balance this one should consider Tracy Brown Collins's Fast Food (Gale, 2004), a collection of 10 essays representing varied opinions about different aspects of this industry. Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. Including passages from Schlosser's best-selling adult book Fast Food Nation (2001) and other writings, the authors dish up a somewhat-less-stomach-churning look at the fast-food industry's growth, practices, and effects on public health. Folding in original interviews, recent statistics, and published research, along with such spicy taglines as "The Golden Arches are now more widely recognized than the Christian cross," they trace the hamburger's early years and the evolution of the McDonald's Corporation's revolutionary Speedee Service System. They follow with vivid tours through feedlots, abattoirs, and a chicken-processing plant to explore how fast food has achieved spectacular international success, particularly among an increasingly obese youth market, then round off with glimpses of Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard initiative and other alternatives less likely to lead to gastric bypass surgery. Readers may not lose their appetites for McFood from this compelling study, but they will definitely come away less eager to get a McJob and more aware of the diet's attendant McMedical problems. Extensive endnotes, occasional photos. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1110L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618710310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618710317
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,586,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I really like this book. I bought it (even though it's geared more to kids) because I am a fan of Fast Food Nation (can't wait till the movie comes out) and wanted to hear what he had to say this time around.
He's targeted 9-15 year olds mainly because American kids are so unhealthy and out of shape - he wanted to not tell them what not to eat, but in fact enlighten them about what they are actually eating. Because the stats are so high for being obese at age 35 if you were obese at 13, he wants to try to stop kids getting obese by age 13 in the first place.
He takes shots at the soda industry as well as fast food restaurants. There is a chapter dedicated to the sodas making kids fat/unhealthy.
1 out of 3 toys in America come from fast food restaurants he states, showing the 'marketing skills' of these chains to lure kids to want to eat there.
Chew On This is really designed to make people (especially the kids) aware of what they are buying and eating and awareness is key to the choices you make.
I loved this book. It's eye opening and interesting and does in fact make you chew on his thoughts. I think he's done a great job here. I hope this message sinks in to kids heads and make them reconsider what they would rather eat.
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Format: Hardcover
I just saw Eric Schlosser speak tonight to a crowded room full of interested kids, so you can put away any notions you might get that kids aren't interested in learning more about what they eat or will be put off by "gross" pictures (there are one, maybe two of these in the whole book).

Let me say a little though about what Schlosser does NOT do in this book: he does not tell kids what to eat or not eat. He does not tell them they must stay away from fast-food restaurants at all times (he's not a vegetarian, actually, and he even mentions some responsible ones that he likes, like In-n-Out Burger). Instead, he tried to inform kids about what's in fast food and how fast-food restaurants are run, and encourages kids to make their OWN well-informed decisions.

Schlosser is an investigative journalist, and the book is intended as an expose of the fast-food industry, there's no question about it. A lot of what he says will make parents and kids feel pretty bad about their eating behavior - the terrible pollution problems caused by factory farms, the health problems caused by obesity, terrible dental problems caused by soda pop, etc. So, his opinion on the subject is clear but well-supported.

But before you decide whether you're interested in this book, I would like to suggest to readers of this book's reviews to do some of their own fact-checking. For example, by clicking on a reviewer's name on this page you can see how many other reviews he/she has written. If that person has never written about anything else, ask yourself WHY. Ask yourself who they work for. And then, as Mr. Schlosser would himself suggest, *draw your own conclusions.*
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Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely well written and important book. It's not intended as a "sequel" to Fast Food Nation (another reviewer complained that the book didn't add much as a sequel). This is a REWRITE of Fast Food Nation for a YOUNG AUDIENCE -- something this country has needed desperately for a long, long time. Young people are now more obese than ever -- as a result, they're struggling with more health problems than any previous generation and setting themselves up for a lifetime battling diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer ... This book should be required reading for every child, teen and parent.
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Format: Hardcover
"Engine Joe Eagleson" notes that Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, the President of the American Council on Science and Health, has panned this book in an op-ed piece.

Google her name and look up "American Council on Science and Health" on Wikipedia. She is nothing more than a hired gun for corporate interests. Of course she's going to pan the book! Wikipedia notes that the ACSH receives "75 percent of [its] funding from the chemical and pharmaceutical industry."

Engine Joe: the fast-food industry is aiming its marketing arm directly at impressionable children. You and I know that moderation is key, but what about the five year old who watches 3 hours of fast-food advertising each week?

Secondly, does McDonald's really have commericals that encourage children to order a salad? What six-year old goes to Wendy's and orders the chili?.

To me, Mr Schlosser's book fills a missing gap of information for children. They receive advertising constantly and it's refreshing to give them a new viewpoint. As Mr Schlosser noted in a recent interview, the most troubling aspect of fast food for kids is "the eating habits it creates. Research shows that if children are obese by the age of 13, the odds are overwhelming that they will be as adults."
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very informative book that my husband ended up reading first even though we bought it for our 12 year old son. As a result my husband wants to throw out half the food in our pantry!

It is pretty serious stuff and our 12 year old is slogging through it even though he does not want to hear why all of his favorite foods are so bad for him. Given that it is meant to be geared towards pre-teens I am a bit surprised that it is so long, but I am sure it would be hard to cut out any of the truth for fear of not getting the point across.

This book will hold the attention of strong pre-teen readers or kids who are intrinsically interested in the subject. I would love to see a comic type book with the same basic info for 8-12 year olds and then a picture book for 3-8.
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