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Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals and Illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Published by Tricycle Press (An imprint of Random House Children’s Books)

Pages: 32

Ages: 3-7

Publishers Summary: Apple cores
Bananas, bruised
Coffee grounds, with filters, used
Just add to the pot
and let it all rot
into Compost Stew!
Calling all cooks and gardeners! Here is a recipe that your home compost bin will love. Some of the ingredients—eggshells and grass clippings—may be familiar, while others—laundry lint and seaweed strands—not so much…yet!
Ashley Wolff’s colorful and collage illustrations echo the book’s eco-friendly message by incorporating recycled and found materials like teabags, newspaper clippings, and seashells. To keep young environmental chefs fully informed about composting do’s and don’ts, there’s a note in the back about what’s not fit for the bin. and for schools with gardens, this book is sure to become a great resource and a welcome addition to the classroom library.

The Turkeybird Speaks: “Did you know you can put that yucky stuff that floats in the ocean in a big tub to make dirt? It’s so cool! This is a really neat book, especially if you like being outside, helping make something really neat and new, or if you just like slimy crawly things like I do.

“To make this stuff from the book called compost stew you have to add worms and lots of different left over food and stuff. It sounds super yucky, but also pretty neat because when it’s all done my mom said you can use the new dirt to make more flowers and food. Well, I’m not much of a vegetable guy, but I do like to look at flowers and I’ve been known to eat a carrot every once in awhile. So this is really really cool! Plus, the book goes all the way through your ABC’s! The reason why that’s so neat is because I’m trying to teach Littlebug her ABC’s right now and she’s not doing so good at keeping them all together the way there supposed to. So this really helps because it’s almost like a song about being outside and she loves being outside!

“This is a great book for people who like being outside, who like to help the earth and maybe need some help with their ABC’s like Littlebug!”

Mom’s Two Cents: “Cooking, but not the way you would think. Everything begins as something and is in some way returned to the earth where it came from, but not always in the most eco-friendly way possible. So why not take your recycling to another level and make a compost stew out of the things you can’t put in the recycling bin? Items like apple cores, nut shells, hair snippings, laundry lint and more are just a few of the items that can be thrown in to eventually be used again one day in your very own garden. Follow the ABC’s of composting and you may very well have your own garden full of flowers & veggies one day.

Compost Stew is a child’s (and adult’s depending on your experience) how-to for composting. To be completely honest, even with the knowledge I do have on the topic, I was still surprised by some of the items Mary mentions that can be used to make a nice compost stew. I had no idea you could add nut shells or seaweed (which is good to note since we live near the beach) or laundry lint. Who knew?! The book is so incredibly informative and full of great tips for young and old alike. Not only that, but the flowing form of the text as it goes through the ABC’s of composting is so lyrical you can practically sing it, which is always fantastic for young readers.

“One of the things that really caught my attention were the illustrations. What was so impressive about them was the way in which conservation was taken to another level simply by reusing elements within the illustrations. By elements I mean old newspaper clippings, fabric and paper scraps which were cut to size and interspersed throughout the illustrations. It reminded me quite a bit of the illustrations from Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli with the illustrations being done by Kadir Nelson, in which he pieced scraps of fabric together to create the images on the pages. Just gorgeous in both cases.

“As a member of a family who is constantly striving to help the environment, Compost Stew was just what we needed to help us take things to the next level. If you currently recycle your plastic goods and stop there, why? Why not take a chance on another way to help the environment and also gain a beautiful new garden down the road a bit? Compost Stew is a delightful book with beautiful illustrations, wonderfully lyrical text and an important message about taking care of the world around us. I’d highly recommend this, especially as a fantastic Earth Day read!”

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 3 to 8. Young readers will enjoy the lyrical text and parents will enjoy learning something new in this delightful book about helping the environment in a very easily accessible way.

The Compost Stew Giveaway!

To celebrate Earth Day & thank her Facebook followers for their support, Mary McKenna Siddals is giving away 5 copies of the picture book COMPOST STEW as well as 2 art prints from the book, autographed by illustrator Ashley Wolff!
To enter go to Mary’s giveaway page on her site and follow the directions for your chance to win!

Find Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals at the following spots:
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tricycle Press, for providing a copy for review!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

8 Responses to Book Review: Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals

  1. Teresa says:

    I must get this one. My monkey loves composting with his daddy and grandpa!

  2. What a delightful review! Thanks to the Turkeybird and Mom for so enthusiastically sharing Compost Stew with your readers, and encouraging them to spread a little green in the world, one apple core at a time…


  3. This is a very good book – great for Earth Day! We have checked it out from the library a few times. We started composting last year and my kids were able to relate to the book.

  4. Gina says:

    Love the cover and the story within. Sounds like a perfect read for this week…. Great review, Danielle!

  5. ashley wolff says:

    Dear Mama and Turkeybird,

    What a satisfyingly thorough review! Between the two of you, you noticed all the things Mary and I tried to show and tell in Compost Stew. Compost Stew IS yucky and neat and a home for worms and greta for your garden when it is done. The secret about a true worm bin: is that is doesn’t smell-even in your garage over the winter.

    Thanks, Ashley

    PS. I also illustrate the series about Miss Bindergarten and Mr. Turkeybird sounds like he is ready to start getting ready for Kindergarten!

  6. […] an author we’ve been reading quite a bit recently, Mary McKenna Siddals. Her new book Compost Stew was recently released and we were able to post our review just a couple of days ago. Needless to say, we loved it and think Mary is pretty neat too! So, […]

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