Saturday, January 25, 2014

A good children's book

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen,
by Diana Prichard, illustrated by Heather Devlin Knopf,
Little Pickle Press,
3701 Scramento St., San Francisco, California, 94118,
30 pages, eight x 11-inch hardcover,

What is a cow doing in Patrick O’Shanahan’s kitchen?
And what are hens doing in his refrigerator?
Providing breakfast, of course.
Diana Prichard is a farmer who wants children to know where their food originates.
“Watching people who have little or no practical knowledge of agriculture dominate our national discourse on food and farming is extremely frustrating,” she says.
“I wanted to contribute a positive and informed message for parents and kids.”
The book shows how milk comes from squeezing a cow’s teat and how eggs are gathered from underneath hens.
Unfortunately, it’s presented in fairy-tale fashion and so I wonder what children actually learn.
I read it to two of my grandchildren, ages three and five. It certainly grabbed their attention.
On subsequent visits to our home, the book passed the litmus test for popularity; when I asked which of dozens of books they wanted me to read, they picked this one. Every time.
Pritchard and Knopf deserve a lot of kudos for creating the book. Rather than simply complaining about urban ignorance about where food comes from, they have done something constructive.