cover image There’s No Such Thing as Vegetables

There’s No Such Thing as Vegetables

Kyle Lukoff, illus. by Andrea Tsurumi. Holt, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-2508-6784-1

Sent to an abundant community garden to gather vegetables for a salad, young Chester is quickly thwarted by the prospective ingredients—who insist that vegetables aren’t really a thing—in this category-savvy picture book. Digitally finished pencil cartoons by Tsurumi (Mr. Watson’s Chickens) portray the garden habitués with maximum spunk as each insists on being called by their given name and plant part rather than being labeled as a vegetable. A broccoli floret named Juanita says it’s a flower, kale bundle Beatrice is a leaf, Pietro the potato is a root, and an eggplant, cucumber, and pepper (Damon, Karen, and Parveen, respectively) are “fruits, dude.” Chester, who reads as East Asian, gets an informative earful via dialogue balloons by Lukoff (Awake, Asleep), whose colorful garden personalities are bound to tickle readers. So too will the idea that basic concepts can prove more social construct than fact—or, as an ear of corn explains by way of analogy, “Don’t think too hard about language and how every word you say is just a collection of random sounds.” An author’s note concludes. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Saba Sulaiman, Talcott Notch Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Feb.)