Good enough to eat

31st January 1997 at 00:00
MY SISTER IS SUPER MY GRAN IS GREAT By Hannah Roche Illustrated by Chris Fisher DeAgostini Pounds 4.99 each.

Any books that encourage children and adults to engage in practical activities together are welcome.

These two books, from DeAgostini's series of cookery books for three-year-olds upwards, do just that, but they also positively encourage observation and dialogue about the changes that happen when the substances (ingredients) are mixed, moulded and heated.

In My Sister is Super, Michael, the young narrator, takes the reader through a step-by-step guide to making muffins, under the supervision of his older sister Sophie.

In My Gran is Great, Millie makes biscuits, under the supervision of her gran.

In both books, the changes that are taking place during the mixing and cooking are explained in short, simple statements with appropriately linked illustrations.

A concise explanation is given for parents at the end of each book, which describe the scientific processes that occur in a non-threatening and unpatronising way.

The vocabularies used for the children are simple and introduce some amusing descriptive words, such as "gloopy" and "crispy".

The text is clear and the right size to encourage early reading skills. However, a typeface that young children are familiar with would have been more suitable. Children have to learn to read all sorts of script, but it is easier for them to start with the same letters that they use when they are learning to write.

There are many opportunities for developing mathematical skills when measuring quantities and filling paper cups, although these are not mentioned in the texts or parents' notes.

However, the notes and the detailed recipes at the end are helpful in drawing the reader's attention to the reasons for the changes that happen throughout the mixing and cooking.

Adults and children would be hard pressed not to enjoy reading the stories and carrying out the activities, let alone eating the results.

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