Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review - Strange Foods


Strange Foods (No Way!)

By: Michael J. Rosen
Illustrated by: Doug Jones
Publisher: Lerner Publishing
Publication Date: August 2013
ISBN: 978-0761389842
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2013

Food, glorious food. Wait, not all foods seem all that glorious if you’re not used to them. How about instead of those potato chips you munch on some chicken feet? Sounds pretty good. Not. Actually, in China “vinegar-flavored” chicken feet are “sold alongside peanuts and chips.” If you filled up a bowl with them and set out your favorite dip when your friends came over ... well, let’s just say they might not want to be your friend any more. Yuk! Pig’s hooves are a delicacy in some parts of the world and perhaps they’d prefer that to nibbling on those chicken toes. Seriously, if you lived in Norway those pig’s hooves would look some good.

There are a lot of tasty “nom nom nom” things people just love. I’m sure you’d like to have a can of surstr├╝mming for lunch. It smells just like “rotten eggs, rancid butter, and farts.” Surely you don’t want to pass? If you were a Swede you’d thank me profusely for a can. Maybe. Another strange, but rather stinky delicacy is the durian, an Asian fruit that is “sometimes call the king of fruits.” Even dogs will come running when they smell it. Hey, ho ... too bad you really didn’t have some of these foods. Your friends would be some impressed if you actually ate them!

Imagine ordering up some “casu marzu” in a restaurant. This very unusual cheese “is infested with little slimy wormlike creatures.” Ummm, maggots to be exact and they jump too. You get the picture. This book is packed with delicacies that are way appealing to certain groups of people, but way not to you. Your yuk factor will kick in big time when you read about things like casu marzu, kopie luwak, and yak butter tea. Never heard of them? You’ll be telling all your friends about them once you read this book.

This is an amazing collection of really, really strange foods that will excite young readers. This is the type of book that will engage even the most reluctant reader as they turn the pages of this book. The layout is very vibrant with graphic novel-like drawings and mesmerizing photographs of the most unusual foods. The kopi luwak is a most unusual brew that will keep youngsters talking and laughing about it for days. The writing is definitely upbeat and kid-friendly and has the gross factor that has a lot of appeal to some. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: If you have a youngster who is into weird, wacky, and gross they'll really adore this book!