Sunday, May 29, 2022

Review: Lettuce Get In Trouble by Linda Kuo, Cynthia Benjamin, and Paula Reese

Today's read flows more in a non-fiction direction without really being non-fiction. This picture book for elementary aged readers introduces a well-known designer, Sara Little, but adds a tale along the way. Plus, I was curious about the lettuce. Add the well-done artwork, and I was curious to see what these pages hold. 

Let's just say that knowing all of this, I was still surprised. Ready to find out why? 

Sara Little Trouble Maker
by Linda Kuo, Cynthia Benjamin, and Paula Reese
Illustrated by Mariana Rio
Center For Design Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

Sara Little Turnbull was a designer, an observer, a mentor, and not afraid to cause a little trouble while making the world a better place. As a global traveler, she made connections between people and found wonder in the everyday objects they hold dear.
As a very petite female designer in the world of large men, Sara used her unique perspective and curiosity to design a wide range of revolutionary products–from facemasks to cookware to astronaut suits–and to encourage others to see the world through new eyes. Sara was a mentor to designers of all ages and in Lettuce Get in Trouble, she helps children understand the basics of design: observing the world around them, asking questions, and trying out new things. One day, the Ministry of Food asks Sara Little to convince the children to eat more vegetables. Instead of offering a stern lecture, however, Sara Little brings her young friends to her Little Lab in New York City to explore the colors and shapes of food and why we eat anything at all. Together they design a grand event, inviting children to gather, play, and design tasty new creations.


In a playful manner with a touch of quirkiness, these pages dive into the well-known designer, Sara Little, while also encouraging a love for food.

Sara Little was a small woman, who was packed with curiosity and a love for design. She enjoyed asking questions and coming up with things to make life better. When she is invited by the Ministry of Food to solve the problem of kids refusing to eat vegetables, she takes on the task and asks the kids what they think. With a bit of ingenuity and tons of creativity, the kids and here come up with an interesting solution.

I hadn't heard of Sara Little before and was thrilled to learn something about her. Unlike non-fiction books, this is a tale with a bit of imagination. Sara Little is introduced as a designer with ideas, but her 'true' accomplishments and facts are offered in a more detailed fashion on the last two pages. The story is just that—a fun story with meaning and not centered around her and her life. This made the approach to learning more about her entertaining and never feeling like a history lesson...because it isn't.

The illustrations are simple and, yet, carry an interesting flair, which fits the playfulness of the story. The text flows along in rhyme with a meandered meaning and thought flow. At times, it seems a bit confusing, but not an interesting mix. The atmosphere remains light but with enough tension to keep the read interesting. It's different and makes this read unique, which will capture listeners interest.

The idea of experimenting with foods and letting the creativity flow does invite for some do-it-yourself fun. The characterization of Sara Little lands as the sub-theme. The listener/reader learns ways to appreciate vegetables from a different viewpoint, and that in designing style like Sara might have. These two takes make it a book for a couple of possible themes, and it does fit well into a group setting for either one.

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