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Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth Hardcover – March 23, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

“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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: AD780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Tricycle Press; 1 edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781582463162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582463162
  • ASIN: 1582463166
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.3 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.Prather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What a unique an engaging book! The illustrations are fascinating and I really loved the rhymes. It's not often that an alphabet book flows along so seamlessly, especially one that tackles such a unique subject. This works well as a read aloud and I think would be even better with one on one sharing so everyone can fully enjoy the captivating illustrations. This is a perfect choice for any preschool or kindergarten classroom looking to introduce environmental issues and activities, since creating a compost stew is something anyone can do! A huge recommend both for the text and illustrations.
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Format: Hardcover
The compost bin is open and ready to accept a few additions so "environmental chefs" can whip up some "Compost Stew." Get ready to listen, and you'll find a list of ingredients from A to Z that are just perfect for Compost Stew. A young girl with a gorgeous mane of curly red hair has apple cores, a dalmatian is running with bruised bananas, and a goose has coffee grounds still in their paper filter. "Dirt clods, crumbled / Eggshells, crushed / Fruit pulp left behind, all mushed / Grass clippings / Hair snippings / and an Insect or two." There are many interesting ingredients in the stew that you might not think of.

Into the pot everything goes. It's all mixed together and will eventually rot and turn into Compost Stew. You might think of saving jack-o'-lanterns, but how about the lint that has collected in your dryer trap? A little dab of oatmeal will work and even seaweed is welcome into the bin. "Just add to the pot / and let it all rot / into Compost Stew." There are so many things that can be used in the bin that will eventually turn into rich soil. Can you think of anything that could be added to your bin to make Compost Stew?

This book is a marvelously ingenious way to teach everyone many things about composting the easy way. The "instructions" are very easy and fun to follow as this ABC story in rhyme wends its way through the pages showing us many things that can be composted. Many more young people are interested in doing their share to help create a better Earth and composting is not only educational, but a lot of fun. There are several instructional books available, but this one is perfect for the youngest gardeners. They will not only listen and learn, they will also have some great visual artwork to learn from. If you are thinking about how you will teach your children to appreciate the Earth, this book is probably one you are going to add to your list!
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Format: Hardcover
This rhyming book makes it easy to learn what goes into the compost pile. It goes through the alphabet with things you can add - from "Apple cores" and "Bananas, bruised" all the way to "Zinnia heads whose blooming days are through". The illustrations are really adorable, too.

There's also an additional block of text at the back that explains composting (more for older kids, or for adults who'd like more info). :)

My sister purchased this for our son when he was a year old, and he loved it then. He's almost 3 now, and still asks for it regularly. It is a HUGE hit with both the kids & the moms at our preschool co-op.

If something happened to our copy, I would purchase it again in a heartbeat. It's that good. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a simple, yet very well written alphabet book packed with tons of information about composting. My students and I have just started composting at our school, and this was one of our sources. I did not rely on this exclusively, of course, but used it as a starting point. They have returned to it several times this year, and will be reading it to the younger students. This should definitely be in one of your classroom library baskets.
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Compost Stew is now tops on my five-star list of alphabet books for kids!

The combination of author and illustrator is superb and will no doubt entertain and educate the youngest of readers. Teaching our children about composting is so important for the future of planet Earth. I highly recommend this book as a beginner guide to introduce children to composting as a way of turning trash into treasure.

Children of all ages - yes, Adult, this means you - will appreciate this beauty of an ABC book.
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Format: Hardcover
Ashley Wolff’s engaging collage illustrations are a delight. She is a very talented illustrator. Mary McKenna Siddals writes the A to Z recipe of what can go into a compost, including “grass clippings, hair snippings, and an insect or two.” She cleverly weaves the compost recipe into the rhyming text.

Compost Stew is a perfect book to celebrate Earth Day, every day. The book serves as a fantastic introduction to composting, especially if you would like to try it with your children this spring. There’s also a little note at the back of the book about what’s not fit for the compost. I always found my primary school students to be eager environmentalists whenever we talked about earth-friendly activities. Composting their food scraps made more sense than putting more garbage into the landfills.

Giselle Shardlow
Kids Yoga Stories
Author of several yoga stories, including Sophia's Jungle Adventure
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I work at a green school and am always looking for ways to teach my younger students about being green. Compost Stew is a great introduction into what make compost. After reading it to older students, we did more investigating using online databases. A good anticipatory set.
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