Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Christy Mihaly and Sue Heavenrich
Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books
As the world faces crises of hunger as well as environmental disaster, the authors claim one of the most impactful ways to avert total disaster is to take “eat local” to the extreme. Sidewalk cracks, boat hulls, and abandoned lots are the “foragermarkets” of the future. As incredible as it sounds, Mihaly and Heavenrich stand solidly on science and history: wild food sources, while uncomfortable to the modern eater, are packed with nutrients only whiffed in groceries today. Styled for the middle-grade reader, Mihaly and Heavenrich include legal alerts, safety tips, and even recipes to guide students on the path less tasted to a healthier, more sustainable diet.
When it comes to pictures, this book is a desert, and a dangerous one for a book that invites youth to pick weeds and eat wild animals. There are boxes highlighting legal issues, nutritional facts, and some health warnings, but many poisonous or otherwise dangerous organisms aren’t sufficiently explained to balance the enthusiasm with which the authors encourage the reader to make a major dietary and lifestyle change. The poor organization of the volume likely affects the overt repetition of the details, since many facts are related to a variety of topics outlined in the table of contents. Such repetition unnecessarily clogs a book already crammed with anecdotes, action steps, historical narratives, and scientific facts. A restructure may have helped readers understand more fully how to explore entomology and the accompanying diet.