Monday, January 3, 2011

Food is Categorical

When I was a child, life was simpler.  There were four food groups -  dairy, fruits/vegetables, grains, and proteins. (Although I was always insistent that there was also a dessert category)  Then in 1992, a food pyramid was introduced.  It was constructed similarly to an Egyptian pyramid,  with foods as the building blocks for good health.  It didn’t last nearly as long as its four food group predecessor, and was replaced by the current My Pyramid in 2005.  The new pyramid, pictured below, looks more like a Maypole with ribbons of color suggesting the food categories. Boring, right?  Well, if you’re bored by it all, imagine how kids feel about the topic!

Enter the CATegorial cats to help out.


Food is CATegorical is the name of a new seven book series featuring the main food groups and healthy living.  I read two of the new books.

  • Cleary, Brian P. 2011. Apples, Cherries, Red Raspberries: What is in the Fruits Group? Ill. by Martin Goneau. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook.
  • Cleary, Brian P. 2011. Macaroni and Rice and Bread by the Slice: What is in the Grains Group? Ill. by Martin Goneau. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook.
Light-hearted rhymes in a simple and sometimes colorful font, introduce foods and facts about their benefits, origins, or usage.
Bananas are cool ‘cause they’re packaged in peels. They’re equally good on desserts or with meals.  Whether on cereal or with your lunch, this fruit’s sure to pack a potassium punch!
The rhymes are accompanied by lively and humorous cartoon illustrations of cats.  On one page, a cat is whistling on his way to the bathroom. A bowl of fruit is on the table. Dressed in a robe and slippers and carrying a newspaper under his arm, he’s accompanied by this rather graphic rhyme,
A plum or a prune or some nice honeydew -
all these will help us to go “number two.”
Each book concludes with the proper amount of that should be eaten (for grains, 5-6 ounces per day), and illustrations of portion sizes (1 slice whole wheat bread equals 1 ounce).

These are not the books that children will come looking for, but I’m betting that teachers will be whisking them off my shelves and into the classroom.  If your goal is to teach healthy eating and the food pyramid -- like prunes, these books will get the job done.

Coloring sheets, games and other activities related to the Food is CATegorical series are available on the author’s website.


The current USDA food pyramid


Today’s Nonfiction Monday is at Charlotte’s Library.

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1 comment:

  1. These look great! Nutrition is one area where I haven't seen too many books worth sharing. The prune poem will bring many giggles.

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