Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

Wolff, Ashley (Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2010. 32 pages
First published: 2010
ISBN: 9781582463162 (hardcover)
9780385755382 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

figurative language

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

From Apple cores to Zinnia heads, this list poem lays out the basic ingredients required to make “dark, crumbly, rich, sweet” compost. Child-friendly, informative and fun, it outlines, in a surprisingly engaging and poetic form, which items are safe for composting. Some will be familiar to readers (“Mulch removed from garden beds/Nutshells/Oatmeal/Paper shreds”); others not: (“Jack-o-lanterns/Kitchen scraps/Laundry lint from dryer traps.”) A rhymed “Chef’s Note” at the end outlines what is not safe for the compost pile.

The ingredients appear alphabetically in a lively rhyme format that will hold readers’ attention and inspire inquiry.

Vibrant collage illustrations, incorporating food wrappers, coffee grounds, newspaper clippings, teabags and more, create texture and pop off the page. At the same time, they reinforce the recycling theme. Throughout the book, a culturally diverse cast of characters is engaged in myriad activities related to their contribution to the accumulating compost heap.

The book empowers readers by suggesting that anyone, including kids, can fill the composter with garden waste, kitchen scraps and other recyclable matter. An introductory author’s note explains how composting works and where readers can go online for more information.

  •  Read the author’s note on the dedication page. Share your prior knowledge and experiences with compost.
  •  

    Create a presentation based on the book, with groups and individuals reading different stanzas and joining together for the chorus. Present your show to another class.

  •  

    Start a class composting project. Write a description of your project and a Do’s and Don’ts guide. Collaborate to record the results of your project.

  •  

    Brainstorm what you know about composting. Considering the cover, list A to Z products that could go into the compost. After reading, re-evaluate your choices.

  •  

    As the book is read aloud, discuss the content of the pictures. Where might they come from (magazines, wrapping paper, etc.)? What is compostable in what you see?

  •  

    Compare what can go into a compost pile at home and what goes into the brown bins collected by your town or city. How are they different?

  •  

    In small groups, create a new version of the book, with different elements, but keeping the chorus. Match the rhymes when possible. Practise singing it with your group.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To solve problems
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology