Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review - From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate


From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate

By: Robin Nelson
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0761365600
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: October 2012

Some kids just love chocolate, but how many know how it is made? If you take a look at the picture of some very unusual trees you'll see some large reddish colored pods growing on the outside. Inside these pods "are seeds called cocoa beans." After several months the pods are cut off from the trees and cut open. You can see several white beans inside the pod. Each one holds "twenty to fifty cocoa beans." After the cocoa beans are removed from the pods "they are left in the sun to dry for many days" and then are placed into sacks.

Once the sacks are filled they are loaded into a railroad car to be taken to a chocolate factory. At the factory the "beans are cleaned" and then roasted. The reason they are roasted is because it is "easier to take shells off [the] beans." In a photograph in this book you can see a man working in front of several huge copper pots where the beans are being roasted. You'll also learn about the machines that mash the beans, what happens when they are mashed, what is added to the chocolate, you'll see it "poured into molds," and will learn what happens until it is wrapped.

This is a fascinating look at the manufacture of chocolate from the pod to the final product. This is a simple beginning introduction to nonfiction for the young student. This book can be read by the confident reader or read and discussed during circle or storytime. The layout is alive with vivid photographs, visuals that are almost self-explanatory. There is a brief sentence explaining the concept in the paragraph beneath. For example, when discussing what happens when the beans are removed from the pods the sentence says "The sun dries the beans." This is one of six titles in the "Start to Finish" series about food for the beginning nonfiction reader. In the back of the book is an index and a glossary. There are additional complimentary downloadable resources on the publisher's website.

Quill says: This is one in the series "Start to Finish" that would make an excellent addition to any library or classroom shelf!