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“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read.”
Publisher: Harper, and Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2013
Material: hard cover
Summary: Chef Lorenzo invites Tyler to visit his restaurant to help him make Tyler's favorite meal: spaghetti and meatballs! Lorenzo teaches Tyler how to make pasta. Then they collect the ingredients for sauce. By the time it comes to preparing the meatballs, it was time to go home. Food Network chef Tyler Florence has created a series of picture books to teach kids about food and cooking.
Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 12
Interest Level: 4 to 9
Reading Level: 3.2
Age of Child: Read with/by an 11-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our pasta-loving daughter liked (but did not love) this book. She thought it was interesting and laughed at Tofu.
Adult Reader Reaction: This *could* be a fun book with elementary students. Frankly, Tofu was a distraction. The story shifts too abruptly. After the detailed trip to the market, the meatballs are glossed over. When Tyler told Tofu that they'd worn our their welcome, I was surprised. There is nothing in text or illustration to suggest this.
Pros: Kids curious about cooking or where their food comes from will enjoy this quick dish on spaghetti and meatballs.
Cons: Tofu undermines the story. There is a place for comic relief characters, but he overtakes the story. In the story, there are several pages about making pasta, but in the back, the directions are to use packaged noodles.
Educational Themes: This is an informational picture book that has lots of potential! Start with the meatball and/or sauce recipes in the back. Visit a local farm or farmer's market to gather ingredients or learn more. You might also grow your own spaghetti sauce garden.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, cookbook
Date(s) Reviewed: December 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.