Sunday 22 June 2014

Herbert Peabody and his Extraordinary Vegetable Patch

Herbert Peabody and his Extraordinary Vegetable Patch by Bianca C. Ross, illustrated by Tabitha Emma Bray (Farinet Pty Ltd, distributed by Pan Macmillan)
HC RRP $18.95
ISBN 9780987595508
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

There are countless children that think their milk, fruit and vegetables come from a supermarket. They’re in for a shock for the National Curriculum has added sustainability to their list; a subject that will be of great value and benefit to children and their future. It will change their relationship to food forever. With very few books on the market of this kind, Bianca C. Ross has come up with a winner. This delightfully created and beautifully produced book addresses sustainability, and environmental productivity amongst other issues. It is the first in a five-book series.

Herbert Peabody is a farmer that supplies his farm grown vegetables and fruit to the local bakery. When Herbert’s niece Clementine and nephew Digby come to stay over at the farm, Herbert is faced with a challenge. Digby is only interested in his electronic games and Clementine in watching TV. Herbert is determined to teach the two city children how and where their vegetables and fruit come from.Theo Knead-a-lot’s bakery is under threat due to the lack of produce in the area. Can Herbert’s plan save the delicious products that the whole town enjoys? Will the outcome end in something magical for Theo, the children, and the whole community?

The characters have been ideally portrayed and the story focuses on getting children interested in the vegetables and fruit they eat, how it is grown and the benefits of growing your own produce. It also touches on creative gardening in small areas, the cycle of food, and how many people in the chain depend on farmers’ produce. Ideal for the 4-8 age group, it will instil in children an interest in the earth and environment, sustainability, and awaken in them the immense pleasure that can be derived from sowing a seed and watching it grow into the food we eat.

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