tasting the abc’s of fruits and vegetables and beyond by steve charney and david goldbeck

#46 in on ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.

carrot (2) 500

Food + ABCs together in one book — what could be better?

Steve Charney and David Goldbeck serve up a fun and delectable two course meal sure to satisfy a variety of appetites in The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond (Ceres Press, 2007). This alphabet book with extended activities contains just the right ingredients to feed hungry minds and hopefully get kids excited about incorporating more fruits and veggies in their diet.

abcs food

In Part One, (the first “course”), Charney presents a chewy, crunchy, giggle-inducing platter of rhyming alphabet poems (E is for Eggplant, K is for Kiwi, W is for Watermelon). Each page turn showcases one letter/one fruit/one veggie with a photo set against a bold-colored background on one side, and the illustrated poem on the other.


The focus is on familiar, kid-friendly produce as well as the more elusive Jicama, Quince, Ugli®, and Xemenia (a wild yellow plum from Africa). Food-related extras like Vanilla, Herbs, Farmer, and Organic round out the menu.  Littlest munchkins will enjoy the lively, comical poems and poring over the cartoony illustrations, perhaps not realizing they are consuming lots of ‘good-for-you’ facts at the same time.

abcs food2

abcs 7After digesting this appetizer course, older readers can continue feasting on Part Two, Goldbeck’s bountiful smorgasbord of “About” infobits, recipes (!), tongue twisters, riddles, jokes, projects, website links, and book recommendations. This big second helping of all the fruits and veggies from Part One includes information about where the items are grown, how best to shop for them, how they are eaten and cooked, even how you can grow your own. Sprinkled throughout are fun facts (world’s longest single unbroken apple peel, how to get the most juice from a lemon, the biggest watermelon ever grown) — just the kind of fodder readers who are eaters and eaters who are readers are eager to lap up.



Say this four times fast:

The quince can’t quite quit.

Of course I like the recipes best — there are a couple for each featured fruit or vegetable, they’re simple enough for kids to make with a little adult supervision, and lean on the healthy side (whole wheat flour, no refined sugars). Fancy a slice of Kiwi Pie, some Carrot Cookies, Orange Date Muffins, or maybe a hearty Farmer’s Breakfast? And yes, there’s soup — Smashed Spud Soup and The Captain’s Split Pea Soup, good for slurping right before digging into a plate of Zucchini with Linguini. Doesn’t Fresh Nectarine Cake sound intriguing?


The quince and jicama recipes provide a good opportunity to try something new and different. When kids have a hand in making their food, they are more anxious to eat it and can’t help but take pride in mastering a new skill.

The Joke Bag

Here’s the weather forecast from Mexico:

Chile today.
Hot tamale.

I also love all the book recs; there are many foodie titles I haven’t seen and will definitely look for (Sweet, Sweet Banana, Still Life Stew, The Market Lady and the Mango Tree). The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters/readers, whether they want to whet their appetites with a cute rhyme, nibble on a quick joke or riddle, sink their teeth into a kitchen project with delicious rewards, or just graze on tasty info. After learning his ABCs in Part One, a child can “grow into” the related activities in Part Two.


This book has been praised by educators and nutritionists, and is used in library programs and classrooms around the country. As we all know, eating a lot of fruits and veggies is the foundation for any healthy diet. It’s likely kids will clamor for repeated servings of this colorful, engaging tome for many years down the road.

Watermelon Poem
by Pablo Neruda

The round supreme and celestial watermelon.
It is the fruit of the tree of thirst,
It is the green whale of summer.

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abcs-of-fruits-and-vegetables cover

written by Steve Charney and David Goldbeck
illustrated by Maria Burgaleta Larson
published by Ceres Press (2007)
Nonfiction Paperback Original for ages 4+, 112 pages
Cool Themes: Cookery, Nutrition, Diet, Fruits, Vegetables, Alphabet

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♥ More alphabetica here.

nonfiction_mondayAlice is hosting today’s Nonfiction Monday Roundup at Supratentorial. Sashay on over and check out all the cool offerings in the kidlitosphere this week.

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alphabet iconCertified authentic alphabetica. Made by hand with love and a penchant for mustachioed men feasting on zucchini with linguini.


*Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2007 Steve Charney and David Goldbeck, illustrations © 2007 Maria Burgaleta Larson, published by Ceres Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

25 thoughts on “tasting the abc’s of fruits and vegetables and beyond by steve charney and david goldbeck

    1. The zucchini illustration is my favorite of course. If I make the zucchini with linguini recipe, I’ll have to wear a mustache while eating it. 😀


  1. I think my grandsons would even go for this alphabet book on those wild, fun days while babysitting! Thank you from Grandmama.


    1. This book can be enjoyed in so many different ways. I’m sure your grandsons would enjoy making one of the recipes with you. 🙂


  2. I love the playfulness of this…the way the words just trip around and sound like fun. Even my sixth graders would have fun with this!


  3. This is wonderful, Jama. I especially like that unusual and unique fruits and veggies are included. Thank you for including the carrot page! A couple of days ago, I cut the ends off carrots and stuck them in paper cups, watered them and put them in the window. Today your blog explained to me what will happen (leaves) and what won’t (carrots).


    1. Glad you found something useful from that page on carrots. I never thought to try to grow anything from carrot ends.

      I agree that it’s good they included a few unusual fruits and veggies. It was the first I’d ever heard of Ugli® and xemenia!


  4. My goodness this looks wonderful. So much information and so appealing too. Adding it to my order. Thanks, Jama.


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