Friday, January 26, 2024

Today's read... There's No Such Thing as Vegetables by Kyle Lukoff

Today's read hit my radar just a few days after my one son and I had a discussion over the definition of vegetables—he's in college studying science, so it wasn't hit lightly. As a kid, I always questioned the definitions surrounding fruit and vegetables, since they never seemed to make true sense. This book dives into the theme, and maybe will give some insight? Or maybe say what my son and I also decided?

Well, let's just find out!

by Kyle Lukoff
Illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi
Henry Holt & Co.
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

FEBRUARY 27th!!!

A hilarious new picture book that exposes vegetables for what they truly are―leaves, roots, flowers, and stalks―by National Book Award Finalist and Newbery Honor winner Kyle Lukoff, perfect for fans of the Our Universe series.

Chester plans to have a salad for lunch, but in order to do that, he'll need vegetables. So, off he goes to the community garden, except he quickly learns that he won't be dressing a salad anytime soon. Instead, the vegetables start dressing him down. According to them, "vegetables" don't exist!

I know what you are What the bell pepper? Vegetables are totally real! But here's the Kale is just a leaf, broccoli is a flower, potatoes are roots, and celery...well, stalks. Thanks to a lively, sassy cast of talking "veggies," Chester learns a valuable lesson about categories and how they shape our understanding of the world.

With a slyly informative text and illustrations that will crack readers up, the schooling in There's No Such Thing As Vegetables will be easy to digest and is a total treat.


Plant and food science come across in a delightful way with humor and some serious food for thought.

Chester's mother sends him to the garden to pick vegetables for their salad. Of course, he isn't going to pick anything without asking first (how rude would that be?), but when he tells each 'vegetable' what he's looking for, they send him away with a solid explanation of why they aren't a vegetable. Cauliflower, lettuce, and even the peas send him away, but with such a huge garden, there must be veggies somewhere.

While talking vegetables/fruits/leaves/roots/stalks/whatnots could border on cliche, this book branches off in a great mix of humor and facts. It's hard not to smile as Chester heads out to the garden with his mother's orders and a basket in arm because it's clear that things aren't going to go smoothly. And he has such good intentions! His politeness and kindness makes him sympathetic, and it's hard not to hope he can find a few veggies for the salad. As each veggie/fruit/...well, you get the idea...explains why they don't fit into the veggie category, they never come off as rude or snarky. Their arguments are simple, clear, cute and make sense, and these are supported with just the right amount of scientific facts for readers to understand exactly what's going on. There's a little bit of botany , but it remains basic and flows seamlessly into the humorous tale.  

The illustrations are bright and playful, making each item easy to identify while bringing it to life. The scientific aspects are clearly portrayed, when needed, to aide in understanding, but these stay fun, too. Some of the veggies/fruits/etc will be familiar, while others might need to be identified, which is another learning chance for young readers.

It's a cute read to use for story time and also works well as an original way to lead into the theme of fruits versus vegetables for groups settings. It promotes critical thinking and opens up the chance for discussions and, maybe, even the first hints of debate. For a seemingly simple, humorous book, it packs more than is obvious at the first glance.

No comments: