[tasty review] Right This Very Minute by Lisl H. Detlefsen and Renée Kurilla


Are you hungry, right this very minute?

Well then, put on your bib and prepare to lick your chops cause you’ve come to the right place. 🙂

Can’t wait to tell you about a brand new picture book (just out today!) by Lisl H. Detlefsen, who, you may recall, visited not too long ago to talk about her award-winning debut title, Time for Cranberries (Roaring Brook Press, 2015). 

This time she’s teamed up with Boston-based illustrator Renée Kurilla to serve up Right This Very Minute: A Table-to-Farm Book About Food and Farming (Feeding Minds Press, 2019).



Talk about interesting, informative, engaging, and totally delicious! This book spotlights the proud, dedicated farmers and ranchers who work hard to feed us each and every day. From orchards to dairy farms, to wheat fields and cranberry marshes, they are constantly busy getting food to our tables.

The fun begins with a mother serving her daughter pancakes, maple syrup and orange juice for breakfast.


All art copyright © 2019 Renée Kurilla


What’s that you say?
You’re hungry for breakfast?

Right this very minute?

Then you need a farmer.

You have the stories of so many,
right here on your table.


She then goes on to explain that the oranges are tested for ripeness at the citrus grove before they’re harvested and squeezed into juice. Meanwhile, a farmer is preparing his field for seeding. The wheat will be “grown, harvested, and then ground into flour” for pancakes. At the same time, a sugarmaker installs a new tubing system to carry maple sap to a storage tank before it’s boiled down into thick maple syrup in evaporators.

We are then invited to join more families and friends as they enjoy a snack, have lunch, dinner, and dessert. Each time, we are treated to tantalizing tidbits about the foods they’re eating.



Next time you scarf down a handful of trail mix, think of the peanut farmer who uses soil sensors to make sure his fields have just the right amount of moisture for his sensitive plants, or the cranberry grower who stays up all night checking sprinklers to keep her plants from freezing.

While eating your cheese sandwich, you might consider the dairy farm where the cows must be milked twice a day, every day, or how an apple grower works with a beekeeper to pollinate his apple blossoms for the fruit in your lunchbox. Fascinating stuff!



For a hamburger, loaded baked potato, and garden salad dinner, we learn about cattle tending, how a vegetable farmer plans a crop rotation schedule, and how fresh produce must be harvested, boxed, and trucked to grocery stores and farmer’s markets. And for dessert there’s strawberry shortcake! We visit a family-owned strawberry patch and a backyard coop for the eggs that go into the cake. Yum!



The book closes with an appealing suggestion for those who might be interested in growing their own food. Why not start a community garden with family, friends or neighbors? And don’t rule out the possibility of someday becoming a farmer yourself. 🙂



Lisl’s lively, conversational text makes this book a pleasure to read and learn from. She’s framed each meal with tag phrases — first the question, “What’s that you say?” and then the all-important, “Right this very minute . . .  you need a farmer,” an appetizing reminder that when it comes to our food, there is always someone, somewhere out there, doing something to make it happen. She creates a sense of immediacy that draws us in from the get-go, and keeps us eagerly turning the pages to see what’s next.

Renée’s colorful, dynamic illustrations brim with warmth and captivating details that draw the reader right into each scene, whether it’s at a family table, outside in the park, alongside a pasture full of cattle, or right down into the soil.



She’s populated the spreads with a friendly, diverse group of kids and grown-ups busy working and eating together, with great close-ups of each featured meal. Who can resist that big stack of pancakes with syrup dripping down the sides, or those mouthwatering servings of strawberry shortcake?



I also like her pictures of the advanced technology used by today’s farmers (tablets, soil testers and sensors, computerized milking machines). Including children in most of the farmwork pictures makes the shared info even more interesting and accessible.



Right This Very Minute is the first children’s book published by Feeding Minds Press, a project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, whose mission is “to publish accurate and engaging books about agriculture that connect readers to where their food comes from and to who grows it.”

Lisl and Renée’s picture book, with its enlightening celebration of farmers and farming, is certainly the perfect way to launch this new publishing venture. Not only does it enhance appreciation for the food we too often take for granted, it will likely inspire young readers to find out more about the sources and production methods of foods they especially like to eat.



I do love the spirit of community and cooperation that runs throughout the book, a welcome nod to our interdependency when it comes to surviving on our planet. Right This Very Minute is a solid choice for school and public libraries, and a great catalyst for classroom discussion. Only one thing left to do: get your copy right this very minute . . . well, right after you eat this cheese sandwich! 🙂






RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE: A Table-to-Farm Book About Food and Farming
written by Lisl H. Detlefsen
illustrated by Renée Kurilla
published by Feeding Minds Press, February 5, 2019
Nonfiction Picture Book for ages 2-7, 32 pp.
* 2019 American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year

♥️ Check out the publisher’s website for lots of cool supplementary resources, including short videos featuring real-life farmers describing what they’re doing “right this very minute,” a Free Lesson Plan, an Educator Guide, as well as additional videos with relevant info (cranberry farming, crop rotation, egg production, etc.)



This post is being linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best aprons and bibs, and come join the fun!

*Interior spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2019 Lisl H. Detlefsen, illustrations © 2019 Renée Kurilla, published by Feeding Minds Press, 2019. All rights reserved.

**This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee. Thanks for your support!

***Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

17 thoughts on “[tasty review] Right This Very Minute by Lisl H. Detlefsen and Renée Kurilla

  1. This looks like a great book for reading and starting conversations about growing food, cooking food and eating food. Sometimes we all need help in getting our little ones talking. Instead of lecturing and just having them listen, we can start a conversation which is light and everyone can join in. Lots of wonderful topics here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my, the pictures are ‘delicious’, love that honeybee page, & all the information in the book is inviting, Jama. I didn’t know about some of the tech you shared, like soil testers. Thanks for sharing this lovely new book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so cool. The illustrations are fabulous, but I really, really like the lessons of how we’re all interconnected and that our food doesn’t come from a store but from the land — and I also like the idea of promoting the family farm. AND I love that there are educational resources too. Great for exploring more with curious kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so important that kids learn about where our food really comes from. I enjoyed the videos at the publisher’s website with the farmers themselves explaining what they’re doing.


  4. Commissioning books to show how farms bring us food — what a fabulous idea! I wish I knew some kids that I could offer this book to!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great way to honor farmers and teach kids about where food comes from. Great illustrations too.


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