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Kids Cooking: Students Prepare and Eat Foods from Around the World

photos by George Ancona. 32p. Candlewick. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763698768.
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PreS-Gr 1—Ancona's latest photographic essay depicts students in classes at Santa Fe's Cooking with Kids programs as they prepare five international recipes. More about the cooking process than the food itself or countries of origin, the images show diverse groups of children measuring spices, chopping vegetables, mixing ingredients, and, eventually, eating their delicious dishes together. Drawings created by the children to reflect their experience are also scattered throughout the book. The text narrates each step in the process, referring to the children and teachers by name as sections are matched with photos. Teachers do the actual cooking, though it is mostly left out of the images. Recipes range from Moroccan-spiced root vegetables with chermoula and minted oranges to Mexican vegetable tamales. Each recipe ends with a phrase in italics from a language in that country (e.g., the Arabic phrase "As-salamu alaykum" ends the Moroccan recipe's section). The text, written in third person, present tense, is accessible and engaging, drawing readers into the classroom kitchen with the students and teachers. Photos vary in number and size, sometimes verging on too many and cluttering the layout. Though some supplementary materials are available at the publisher's website, the lack of back matter (especially recipes) results in more of a flavor of international cuisine than a deep dive. Those looking for recipes should instead try Stewart and Engel's What's On Your Plate?: Exploring the World of Food.
VERDICT The book's content seems narrower in scope than the title suggests but it's still a nice beginner's bridge into cooking activities for those with curious taste buds.

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