Score: 94/100 (9.4 out of 10)
Wow! We were really not expecting a book like this to be this good and this fun to read! The authors of Queen Bee's Alphabet Cook Book really went above and beyond to make this book fun and interesting for their readers.
The art, while not elite or extraordinary by any means, still does the work. And the stock images/photographs are of workable quality with art/character superimposed onto them almost seamlessly. It is similar to Ronnie Pool in that sense.
Where this book really shines, especially as a children's book, is the writing and the content. There is so much value in being able to teach language and the alphabet to young children. Growing up, programs like Hooked on Phonics were staples. They helped us to be where we are today—being able to read and write to a higher degree. Along with communicating with parents and other loved ones, books like these are one of the cornerstones of acquiring language.
This book could've very simply been strictly an alphabet book like “B is for Bee” and “C is for Cat” but it went far beyond that. The writing in this children's book is very compelling. The rhymes are fun and interesting. It isn't wordy. It's not too hot, not too cold. It's just right.
“C is for carrot and
cookies and cake.
So many things
to learn how to make.”
This might seem like a simple quatrain, and it is, but that's the beauty of it. It's this brevity and economy of language that shines. Young kids don't need to be bombarded with words. They tend to latch onto sounds and form meaning from them.
“U is for up
that's how you'll grow.
When you eat healthy,
the benefits show.”
Something that you may have noticed from these quotes is that they do more than just tell you what the letter of the alphabet is and what it could stand for, it also teaches the young reader broader concepts like using smaller parts/ingredients to make something bigger/better or how eating healthy will benefit their bodies/growth. Those are valuable lessons for kids to learn just like language and communication are.
Queen Bee herself is a charismatic and compelling character. She's positive (always smiling and/or high-spirited) and adventurous. There are times she's seen mowing or spreading seeds across a field, stirring batter in a bowl, trying out new or different clothes (like when she wears a “fancy orange suit”), and watching people play at a park or gather ingredients from the farmers market. She is definitely someone you can get behind. She reminds us of Oprah.
The other characters, well, are a little less compelling and maybe even a little strange. First of all, they're purple, green, blue, and aqua blue. This could possibly be upsetting to a child who has a set of expectations about what a human being should look like. In other words, this has the issue of the uncanny valley—when something looks human enough to be recognized as human but different enough to possibly be unsettling. You could probably explain this all away as the characters basically being vegetable people—like Veggie Tales.
The second part of this is an actual recipe book that children and their parents/teachers can engage with! That's the cherry on top of an already stacked book. What's also incredible about these recipes is that it not only comes from a passionate source but also a reputable one. Mariah Ecker is a legitimate registered dietitian, so that means that most of the recipes you are getting are helping your children to reach one or more nutritional goals based on the concept of nutritional balance. How wonderful is that?
What's more is that the authors do not skimp on the importance of safety. There is a whole page about safety in the kitchen which parents and teachers can over with their kids.
Check it out on Amazon!