The Fruits we eatWe all recognize that fruit is a healthy food and tastes sweet and delicious yet how much do we or our children really know about this special food? Gail Gibbons’ book, The Fruits We Eat, is packed full of information about a large assortment of familiar fruits presented in a way that is sure to capture the imagination of young readers. Written for children five to six years old, the book can be enjoyed on different levels by older children as well as adults.

Gibbons introduces many basic botanical concept like annual and perennial as well as detailed information on fruits. After showing us many of the ways fruits can be eaten with a circle graph to show the importance of fruits in the diet, she groups fruits by the type of vegetation they grow on: vines, bushes, trees, and herbaceous plants. We learn about numerous berries, pineapples, bananas, citrus, melons, grapes, apples, pears, cherries, and peaches with cutaway labeled diagrams show us the parts of the fruits and explanations concerning their planting, cultivation and harvesting. The author points out the differences between tart and sweet, wild and cultivated, and seasonal and warm climates, including an introduction to plant dormancy. The final pages show how large fruit farms harvest their crop and prepare it for fresh sale or processing. A fact sheet concludes the work with tips like 70 of our apples are produced in Washington state.

The bright watercolor illustrations make a very eye catching presentation and add enormously to the information presented in the text. Each two page spread includes numerous images conveying multiple ideas. Most carry captions but some do not thus encouraging readers to supply their own. The amount of information presented is prodigious and perhaps more than a six year olds can absorb but, then, it is a book to be enjoyed over and over.

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By Karen