CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 1 . . . . September 8, 2017
Author Sarah Elton (Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know about Food and Cooking) is not a vegetarian, but, after seeing a chicken get killed, she looked at meat differently. Her new book focuses on the who and the why of vegetarianism. When answering the questions, "What is a vegetarian, exactly?", she explains the history behind meat-eating and introduces the reader to the Father of Vegetarianism, Pythagoras. She gives examples of meats consumed around the world and how the rest of the animal benefits diverse cultures. Meat is equated with wealth and health, but it's also associated with violence, and religious laws. She then explores why people go vegetarian. She describes the many reasons behind this personal choice which include health, environmental concerns, cost, protest, and taste. "Some say the test-tube meat tastes great. Others say they'd prefer to go vegetarian." Part three delves into the nutrition behind a plant-based diet. The examples of food choices are multicultural and healthy, although no recipes are included. Charts provide a weekly meal plan for beginners and ideas for communicating your food choices to family and friends with real tips from five vegetarians between the ages of seven and twelve. These facts help readers find ways to be inclusive at meal times and social occasions involving food. Back material consists of a two-page glossary, an index, a bibliography of sources which include books and websites, and a page of quotes entitled, "Food for Thought". The author's balanced approach to this topic is broad and yet includes specifics that would relate to a wide audience of readers. The cartoon-style illustrations reflect a multicultural population. The illustrations complement and appear alongside the headings, subheadings, and short paragraphs. This nonfiction book would be useful for children who need information for a research paper or for a life-style change.
Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Library in Cold Lake, AB.