Now that Buy Nothing Day has come and gone, it’s time to start ticking off that holiday gift list. If you’ve got any little ones on that list, you’re going to want to pay close attention. What better way to end Vegan MoFo, than to tell you about one of the best children’s books I’ve read in a long time.
Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice is the tale of a not-so-typical family, who lives in a not-so-typical house. Our protagonist, Thora, well, thinks. She thinks a great deal. She might be called the brains of the family. Her two Viking family members, Aksel and Krog, however, are less pensive and a bit more physical. The brawn, if you will. They get pumped. Totally pumped, even. About, well, lots of “stuff” from heavy metal music to kale. These two “non-hairy Vikings” are reminiscent of Bill and Ted in all the best ways.
They also get pumped about juicing. Yes, juicing. Thora grows concerned when Aksel and Krog learn about a new ingredient that could make their juice even healthier for them (to get them even more PUMPED!), because what is good for them, well, isn’t good for everyone, particularly for the little beings about to become collateral damage.
There are no good guys, no bad guys, no preaching or judging. Just a family who wants to do the right thing and be healthy. Author/illustrator/publisher VanBalen articulates all this and more through a quirky story with off-beat and unexpected characters and a sense of humor. What could be better?
This book is the synthesis of so much of what I love :
Creativity – Nathalie (can I call you Nathalie?) not only drempt-up the characters, but she’s sewn them into plush doll-protagonists! This is 3-D creativity, not simply a linear story with a beginning and end.
Art – The drawings, mixed-media illustrations and photos throughout the book are visually interesting, and do more than simply accompany the story – I think they reflect a child’s imagination (and mine) as they use photos and illustration, which dove-tails nicely reality and fiction.
Critical thinking - (ie : questioning the dominant paradigm) – We want to be happy. We want to be healthy. We try to make the right food choices, but is eating everything that could be good for our health a good idea, especially when it harms other beings?
Renegade spirit – Ms. VanBalen self-published and created ThoraThinksPress to do it, taking DIY to a supreme level which frankly, gets me pumped!
Though Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice is suggested for readers age 6 and up, kids of all ages like to colour, right? I know I do. Check out these free colouring pages that accompany the book. They’ll keep little ones creating and thinking, too. You can also read more about Nathalie or find out more about the book here.
Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice is a visual and intellectual delight – the Dr. Seuss-esque title alone still has me giggling aloud. It would make a wonderful holiday gift for children of all ages, vegan or not.
And speaking of gifts, if you’re looking for a unique and handmade original present, visit the Thora Thinks Store and order yourself one of the characters from the book, buttons, or veggie magnets (I really love the magnets).