cover image Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car

Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car

Peggy Thomas, illus. by Edwin Fotheringham. Calkins Creek, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-62979-639-0

While many know about Henry Ford’s automobiles and assembly line refinements, Thomas’s latest nonfiction work describes his fascination with the soybean. Ford, raised on a Michigan farm, sought to help farmers find a new market—factories—following the Great Depression. The eventual result, following years of experimentation: a soybean suit, a favorite soybean snack, and a prototype car made of soy plastic. While Ford’s vision for a soy car waned with WWII’s onset, his chemists’ research jump-started soybean farmers’ future; today, they contribute to “furniture and flooring,/ dog biscuits and bread,/ candy, crayons,/ and cars.” Vibrant shades of yellow, green, and blue dominate Fotheringham’s digital illustrations, which feature farming and factory scenes and play with scale. Extensive back matter includes a list of products containing soy, a lengthy bibliography and timeline, and recipes for soy plastic and Ford’s favored soy cracker. A detailed, bean-filled look at an auto tycoon’s lesser-known passion. Ages 7–10. [em](Oct.) [/em]