Making Minestrone

Stella Blackstone, Author, Nan Brooks, Illustrator Barefoot Books $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84148-211-8
A boy ponders, ""What do you do when you're feeling lonely?/ You ask all your friends around to make a minestrone!"" One ingredient at a time, he and a handful of ethnically diverse friends harvest tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini and more, until the children have concocted a communal ""homegrown, home cooked, magic minestrone."" Brooks (My Little Promise Bible) simmers together an array of ingredients--children populate tableaux of vegetables, animals, flowers and trees framed by colorful borders of legumes or root veggies; more often than not, a creature peers over a dog-eared page. The artist also offers a subtle message about vegetarianism: pigs contribute to the cheerful chaos of rooting out potatoes, chickens look on while children pick the zucchini. Though some couplets are a stretch (""Bubble, bubble, bubble! Quickly lay the table!""), Blackstone's (You and Me, reviewed above) text, together with the artwork, makes a gently appealing homily on food and friends (including the four-legged variety)--and the value of eating one but not the other. Readers tempted to make their own minestrone can follow the recipe in the back. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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