Tanya Nagy, Beautiful Yummy Food : Fruit (Feeding Growing Humans), Bite Nutrition, 1 May 2017, 46pp., $19.95 (pbk), ISBN: 9780987618504
Tanya Nagy, Beautiful Yummy Food : Vegetables (Feeding Growing Humans), Bite Nutrition, 1 June 2017, 52pp., $19.95 (pbk), ISBN: 9780987618511
Dietician Tanya Nagy has clearly put a lot of work into these two information books to make them accessible and informative for children 1.5-16 years. Aiming to promote healthy eating habits in her readers, each book is a visual delight, with attractive design elements and vibrant colour photography.
Both titles follow the same accessible format. The first section includes a page on the book’s values (e.g. empowerment, sustainability and nutrition), an introduction, information for older readers, a page about bees (which are important in pollination), and sets of instructions on how to read the book depending on readers’ age – toddlers, preschoolers and school kids.
The next section consists of a series of attractive double-page spreads; each featuring a particular variety of fruit or vegetable, depending on the book. The right pages show a gorgeous full-page colour photo of each food item looking its absolute best. The left pages inform readers about when the food is in season, how it grows (e.g. vine, bush or in the ground), recommended daily serving size, which parts of the body it is good for, and a page number reference to a quick and easy recipe. All this information is skilfully presented in a simple graphic format, with minimal use of words, and plenty of white space so as not to overwhelm even the youngest readers.
Also for reasons of accessibility, Nagy has selected only the most common and popular food varieties to include, such as potato, broccoli and cabbage for the vegetables, and berries, pears and lemons for the fruit.
The back section includes a short quiz and, for each food item, a recipe and handy hints on choice and storage of each produce item.
As an added bonus, youngest readers will enjoy looking for Orla the Queen Bee – a cute little character – who is introduced to readers on the Bee page, and can be found hiding in many of the photos.
The excellent photos, design and layout of these books are sadly not always matched by the text, which appears to have lacked professional editing. The recipe pages also may have been stronger if they had photos as visual guides for children following the recipes, rather than second viewings of the raw fruit and vegetables. And lastly, I think it would be worth mentioning to readers that seasonal availability of produce can vary according to where in Australia you are (e.g. temperate Australia and tropical north).
These niggles aside, Beautiful Yummy Food: Fruit and Vegetables remain highly attractive and accessible books that would make a great addition to the home, library and classroom.
Reviewed by Julie Murphy