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Here’s to Ugly Vegetables!

September 3rd, 2003 · No Comments

A quick entry here to applaud some children’s books we are enjoying as a family….

The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin has quickly become a favorite – thanks to Kirstin for her recommendation! The story of a mother and her child creating a garden and growing Chinese vegetables becomes a story of culture and community. Even a recipe you can cook yourself with your own ugly veggies. A-yeh, the girls’ gardener grandfather, would approve – well, except that the vegetable names are given in Mandarin: wish there was a Cantonese translation! We have also enjoyed the authors’ book Dim Sum for Everyone : A-yeh and A-ma got to read it to the girls last year when they came to visit and it helped prepare them for our Chinatown adventure. I am grateful to have these books to share with my daughters.

Another book we liked was This Is Baseball . We have a friend who once played in the minor leagues and baseball is still a big part of his life. As a family this spring Ted, the girls and I ate a picnic hot dog dinner in the grass by the side of the local ball park, so we could watch him coach and his daughter play. So I thought that this book would help our daughters understand more about the sport and also a little more about our friend. The book is very basic, one or two sentences per page, but great simple visual explanations.

Finally we are enjoying the science experiment book:
Super Science Secrets by Sandra Markle. It’s written for slightly older kids, but Abigail seems to be understanding some of the principles, and the large photographs are great. So far we’ve only done two experiments. We learned how evaporation reduces mildew in honey – by leaving out grapes and a sample of jam on the countertop for days….it was amazing to see how easily the grapes grew mold (2 days to fuzz!) and how little grew in the jam. (none after 9 days!)
We also learned about ice melting and made ice cream from soda pop, canned evaporated milk, vanilla and lots of ice with rock salt. The instructions though said 15 minutes of stirring on the ice would do it, but ours was still liquid. Disappointed, I left the concoction on the ice and went to make dinner. Two hours later, as I was about to clean up the kitchen, I discovered that some had solidified and the girls enjoyed their frozen dessert! It has been a lot of fun. I did not realize the author had written so many science books – 65 appear at Amazon (but not this one for some reason)! We will be looking for more…..

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