Bread Comes to Life: A Garden of Wheat and a Loaf to Eat by George Levenson, photography by Shmuel Thaler
Reviewed by Lisa Stanger
Do you think it’s time,
For Non-fiction books to rhyme?
Told in rhyme, this nonfiction book aimed at children aged 4-7 tells the story of bread, from sowing wheat to slicing a finished loaf. Author George Levenson brings his film making experience to this project and the result is cinematic page spreads with a concise description of the process of producing bread. A DVD and teaching kit is also available and clearly the major market for this title is an educational one. The uncluttered and striking visuals make this book an invaluable addition to a unit about baking, bread or agriculture. There is a website with teaching activities here.
The rhyme in this book may make it easier for a teacher to read aloud (always a bonus for a nonfiction title), but I think the sometimes awkward nature of it detracts from the strong visual elements and the usefulness of the information :
“Stack up piles of sun-dried stalks,
Rub them in a threshing box.
It’s the simple, old-time miller’s craft
Of separating wheat from chaff.”
This book would be useful with a wide range of children as a general overview of bread production, though older children may not warm to the text where the text will not be perceived as “talking down” to them. A good resource for classes that could have been a great book with a different take on the text.
(The book was originally released in 2004 and is now being reissued in paperback.)
- Reading level: Ages 4-8
- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Tricycle Press; Reprint edition (October 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582462739
- ISBN-13: 978-1582462738
- Source: Review copy from publisher