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The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat, Young Readers Edition Paperback – October 15, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Based on Pollan's best-selling adult book of the same title, this (slightly) shortened version will appeal to thoughtful, socially responsible teens. The book is divided into four sections: "The Industrial Meal" (exemplified by the fact that only two companies, Cargill and ADM, buy nearly a third of all the corn grown in the U.S.); "The Industrial Organic Meal" (covering most of what's found in stores like Whole Foods); "Local Sustainable" (small farms typically based on grass, not corn); and what he calls the "Do-It-Yourself Meal" (where he hunts a wild pig and gathers wild mushrooms). Pollan has done an amazing amount of research, both of the typical kind (there are 16 pages of footnotes) and the more personal kind. His own research includes slaughtering a chicken himself and eating a fast-food meal in a moving car with his family. He explains complicated issues clearly, offers compelling evidence of the environmental damage done by what he calls the industrial meal, and urges readers not to look away from animal-welfare issues: "We can only decide if we know the truth." An afterword, "Vote with Your Fork," recommends simple actions that will improve the health of our bodies, our society, and our planet.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL END --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Not every volume will change a reader's life, but this one just might...lively writing rooted in fascinating examples make this accessible and interesting." --Kirkus
"[W]ill appeal to thoughtful, socially responsible teens." --School Library Journal
"[T]his book uses a recipe of science, history, and humor to create an edifying yet entertaining story." --Horn Book
"Young readers--and older ones, too--will find their thinking about food forever changed." --VOYA
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Top customer reviews
The Omnivore's Dilemma is geared more towards older students in the secondary grades. The language and appropriateness used by Pollan in this book is too crude for students in the elementary and middle school grades. For example, during the part when Pollan discusses the process of how cattle are slaughtered he uses very offensive language that younger students would not be able to handle. Also, there are visuals and pictures showing what the slaughtering process looks like. The word descriptions are extremely detailed and could be seen by younger children in a very negative way.
Furthermore, Pollan discusses the idea of death many times throughout the story. For example, when talking about killing animals, Pollan says that animals can't feel the same fear of death as humans, because they can't imagine the future. Many younger students have never been exposed to death, and are not familiar with the process. Therefore, if you read this story to younger students they would be very confused with this analogy.
As a primary grade teacher in the elementary school grades, it would be ideal to read a section from the story talking about healthy eating. This is mainly because it is important to promote healthy eating to students at an early age. Therefore, if you read them a section of the story discussing healthy eating, then they will be exposed to the idea of eating less processed foods at an early age.
On the other hand, this book is great for secondary aged students. This is mainly because the book gives a lot of background knowledge about how animals are treated in different settings, and different ways that you compensate industrial foods for organic and local foods. For example, it is important for children to know that animals in industrial farms suffer, and are treated very poorly. However, in organic farms and at the Poly face Farm, animals are treated with respect and dignity. They live a good life before they have to be slaughtered and killed.
Also, this book allows students to see that they have options when eating. They do not just have to eat processed food all the time. They can eat healthy and provide themselves with nutrients.
I will not become a vegetarian after this story; however, I have definitely become more cautious about what I buy, and what I consume in my body. The Omnivore's Dilemma really allowed me to see what is going on in the farms around us. When you are buying food at the grocery store, you do not automatically think, "I wonder how this animal was killed?" However, after reading this story that is the first thing that comes to my mind.
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