Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Way Cool Drinks

Way Cool Drinks
by Marilyn LaPenta
Bearport Publishing, 2011
ISBN # 9781617721632
Library Binding
(from the Yummy Tummy Recipes series)
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

I am constantly in search of quality children's cookbooks for the library. The cookbook section of my K-5 library is usually bustling with activity; I find that boys and girls of all ages love to check out cookbooks. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find cookbooks that appeal to kids while also being durable enough to stand up in a library collection. Spiral bound cookbooks last only a few check outs in my library before the pages begin to fall out. My ideal children's cookbook has library binding, colorful pictures, clear instructions and recipes that kids will actually eat. Way Cool Drinks has all of that and more!

Last week turned out to be stifling hot with temperatures in the triple digits. It also turned out to be the perfect time to test out some recipes from Way Cool Drinks. The cookbook contains 14 different drink  recipes and begins with an explanation of why making your own food is more healthy than buying pre-made food at the store. A list of safety tips and tools needed to make the recipes is also located in the front of the book.

Nutrition is a focus of the book without sounding preachy.  Most recipes include fresh fruit, and the author includes tips for making some recipes healthier like substituting sorbet for sherbet in the Red Lava Volcano recipe. Each recipe includes a colorful photo of the drink, lists of ingredients and tools needed. The recipes only require between 3 and 6 ingredients, and the directions are written in a clear manner that children will understand. Some steps involve help from an adult like cutting up watermelon or using a blender.

Readers will enjoy the food trivia located in fact boxes at the bottom of each page.

"A cluster of 10 to 20 bananas is called a hand. Each banana is known as a finger."

The photographs throughout the book make the drinks look amazing, but do they taste as good as they look? I enlisted the help of my nine year-old son to help with the testing. First, we tried the Spring Berry Fling, which involved only three ingredients: raspberries, yogurt and ice cubes. My son carefully read the directions, measured and poured. After blending the ingredients together, we tasted our nutritious drink. It was delicious!

We also enjoyed the Summer Slushy with fresh watermelon and the Blueberry Bash Smoothie. My favorite drink that we tested was the Red Lava Volcano which involved seltzer bubbling up over the edge of the glass when a scoop of sherbet was stirred into the drink. Luckily, the first step of the recipe instructed us to put a plate under the glass to catch the overflow. Not only was the drink spectacular to watch, but it was really refreshing to drink, and it only required three ingredients. This would be a fun drink to serve at a child's birthday party.

                                    Red Lava Volcano prepared by the reviewer

A glossary of terms is included in the back of the book along with a page of healthy tips for readers. There are three other titles in the Yummy Tummy Recipes series: Artful Snacks, Cool Cookies, and Super Wiches. Way Cool Drinks hits the mark with its colorful photos, simple recipes, clear directions and library binding. I highly recommend it to librarians and parents looking for simple and healthy recipes that kids will enjoy making and drinking.

5 stars
(Gr. 2-5)

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