By: Ali Manning
Illustrated by: Taylor Bou
Publisher: Umami Food Consulting, LLC
Publication Date: February 2022
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: January 29, 2022
Nema and Lexi are two very curious sisters who embark on a food discovery journey in the delightful children’s book, Can I Play With My Food?
As the story opens, Nema and Lexi are sitting at the table having breakfast. It’s almost time for school and as they enjoy their meal, one of the girls asks their mother, “Where does food come from?” Curiosity is sparked and the adventure begins.
The girls’ mother explains that food comes from seeds, and that when the seeds are planted, they grow into fruits and vegetables. But Nema realizes they don’t have a garden, so where do they get their food? An interesting and lively discussion ensues until it’s time for the girls to head off to school.
At school, Nema and Lexi continue their food investigation in science class when they mix some common ingredients and get a rather explosive result. Throughout the rest of the day, both at school and when the girls return home, food, the mixing of ingredients, and the discovery of all things food-related take center stage. The girls learn a lot about where their food comes from, as will young readers who will delight in following along.
The author of Can I Play With My Food? is a food scientist and her expertise shows in the way the material is presented. Along with tidbits of food facts that are offered throughout, it’s refreshing to read about two girls exploring the wonders of science. In fact, Lexi starts to think that it might be cool to be a scientist when she grows up - a perfect message for young girls interested in STEM classes. The back cover synopsis notes that one of the girls has Down's Syndrome (inspired by the author's own sister), but it won't be obvious when reading the story which sister that is, which is a refreshing message about acceptance and just what is possible for us all. The illustrations are bright and playful and mesh perfectly with the lively and positive message within the pages of Can I Play With My Food? There are a few minor editorial issues (missing quotation mark, extra quotation mark, etc.), but it isn’t enough to detract from this enjoyable story.
Quill says: Can I Play With My Food? is a fun tale that teaches youngsters some interesting facts about their food while enjoying an entertaining adventure with two inquisitive girls. I hope we see more of Nema and Lexi in additional stories soon.
For more information on Can I Play With My Food?, please visit the author's website at: ali-manning.com