Tag Archives: Older Elementary

Kids Can Cook: Guest Post by Jacqueline Bodnar

As most parents know, it is important to get vegetarian kids in the kitchen. The more they cook, the more they learn how to prepare healthy and tasty vegetarian food, which are skills that can last a lifetime. Those kids that have their own cookbook like the idea of getting in the kitchen and cooking even more.

Kids Can Cook is a vegetarian cookbook that is specifically for kids. The recipes are designed to be easy to follow, with manageable tasks. Most recipes will require the help of an adult if kids are not yet ready to use a sharp knife or use the stove.

Some recipes call for honey, eggs or milk. However, it is simple to make substitutions in order to have vegan recipes. There are a limited number of black and white photos included, which makes being able to imagine the prepared dishes a little more necessary.

The recipes are tasty and the kids will likely enjoy them, especially such dishes as the BBQ tofu, apple walnut salad, and banana pudding. This book is a great way to get vegetarian kids more interested in cooking — especially if given the opportunity to choose what recipes to prepare.

Ages 9-12.

About Jacqueline: Jacqueline Bodnar is a professional writer who blogs about vegetarian issues at VegBlogger.com. She and her husband have been ethical vegetarians since 1995 and are raising two vegetarian children. She is also a nature lover, environmentalist, and avid reader. Jacqueline is a Michigan native, who now resides in Florida, after spending almost a decade in Las Vegas.


Muppets from Space

I grew up watching  “The Muppet Show” weekly, so I rushed out to watch “Muppets from Space” when it was released in 1999.  (I think I saw it at the local drive-in.)  This New Year’s Eve, we decided to have a family movie marathon but forgot to prepare for it.  Rather than watch our old DVDs, we hooked a laptop to the TV and streamed this movie from one of the DVD-rental sites.

Set to funk music, this family flick follows Gonzo’s quest to figure out who he is and find his long-lost family — providing an opportunity for parents and veg kids to discuss what it’s like to be different.  A few of the snappy one-liners will also spark discussion, if you catch them.   Is it funny to call Miss Piggy “bacon,” you might ask.  And what does Gonzo mean when he jokes about his species going extinct?

The movie contains a few references to/ depictions of meat.  When the stove breaks, for example, the Muppets are served bologna for breakfast, a food that all but Rizzo (the rat) refuse.  Still, there’s nothing in this movie that’s offensive enough for me to forgo the sheer fun of watching it.

Rated G.  Ages 4-adult.

The Unicorn at the Manger

Vegetarian Christians can take comfort in Roger L. Robbennolt’s The Unicorn at the Manger: Yearlong Stories of the Holy Night.   While animals are relegated to the role of a living backdrop in some traditional nativity tales, the Rev. Robbennolt puts them front and center, exploring how the animals interact with Jesus and how His coming illuminates their treatment.

The book is divided into chapters that stand on their own as short stories.   The chapter entitled “The Owl Who Found Freedom,” for example, retells the Epiphany story.  It opens by explaining that Melchior’s camel led the way to the manger “because he bore not only a king but a compass.”  Each morning, the narrator explains, the kings would consult the living compass, an owl, to determine the direction to take.  Upon arriving in Bethlehem, the kings prepared to sacrifice the owl as a gift to the spirits who guided them, when Joseph stopped them.  “This a place of life — not a place of death,” he chastised the kings. “Old sacrifices are unnecessary.  …[Jesus] has come to free those held captive — right down to tiny owls.”

This book is appropriate for all ages.  It is out of print but is available online from the author’s family.

Speak! Children’s Book Illustrators Brag About Their Dogs

Check out the stories, poems, and (most importantly) pictures of the dogs loved by Lucy Cousins, Barbara Westman, Lisa Campbell Ernst, Wendell Minor, Betsey Everitt, and other children’s book illustrators.

From the sweet to the sublime, these brief write-ups capture some of the intimate moments people share with their canine companions.

Ages 9-12.

Shark Tale

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed the zany antics and fun music of “Shark Tale” on DVD.  Geared to older kids, the movie is still too mature for kiddo.

Vegetarian kids will love that Lenny the Shark (Jack Black) shares their outlook on life, and all kids can benefit from this movie’s message about the importance of being true to yourself and accepting those you love.

You may want to talk to your kids about how this movie challenges stereotypes (with a vegetarian Great White shark) and how it perpetuates them (portraying “Italian-American” sharks as mobsters).   Also, consider visiting PETA’s FishingHurts.com to get the inside scoop on what shark behavior featured in the film is cartoon fiction and what’s based on reality.

Rated PG.  Appropriate for ages 8-12.  For another perspective, visit Common Sense Media.

Do Animals Have Feelings Too?

Written by David L. Rice and illustrated by Trudy Calvert, Do Animals Have Feelings Too? explores the animal kingdom emotion by emotion.  Kids will learn that chimpanzees exhibit compassion, elephants grieve, and orcas can be vengeful.

Mr. Rice’s anecdotes are at once funny and touching — and by implication, they touch on the ways that people treat animals unkindly.  Under the heading of “Joy,” for example, he recounts an incident where a young circus elephant observed children playing on the swings and tried to join in the fun by trying to sit on one of the swings herself.  Why, children might ask, are elephants forced to perform — and how do they get from place to place?

This lovely book celebrates the attributes we share with other animals and is a welcome addition to any bookshelf.

Ages 4-12.

The Magic Finger

Ever get so mad at someone that you see red?  When that happens to the narrator of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake‘s book The Magic Finger, she points her magic finger and well … things happen.

Veg kids will probably relate when the narrator gets angry at her friends and neighbors, the Greggs, for hunting deer and ducks, and they’ll be delighted to find out that the result of her finger-pointing is that the Greggs and the ducks change places for a night.  When the ducks take up arms and confront the Greggs about the slaughter of their family, the lesson is brought home.  The Greggs promise never to hunt again; instead, they destroy their guns and put flowers on the graves of the dead ducks.

Ages 8-12.  For more reviews, visit Goodreads.