|Try it! : how Frieda Caplan changed the way we eat|
Author: Rockliff, Mara
A picture book biography of Frieda Caplan, the produce pioneer who changed the way Americans eat by introducing exciting new fruits and vegetables, from baby carrots to blood oranges to kiwis.
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Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/01/20)
School Library Journal (12/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (12/01/20)
The Hornbook (+) (00/01/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2020 PreS-Gr 3—This picture book biography profiles produce pioneer Frieda Caplan (1923–2020). Caplan, the daughter of Russian immigrants, was the first woman in the United States to own and operate a wholesale produce business. The narrative begins at the Seventh Street produce market in Los Angeles in the 1960s, where Caplan noticed the monotony in what restaurants, stores, and stands sold to consumers. Despite the skepticism of her colleagues, she introduced fresh mushrooms, earning her the moniker "the Mushroom Queen." Her gradual success with mushrooms led her to open her own market stall, where she sold other foods considered unpopular and exotic, like kiwis. Caplan didn't love everything she tried, but when she chose to back something she gave it her all. As her reputation grew, she began to advise farmers and restaurant chefs. She gave interviews to journalists forecasting produce trends and eventually hired her own daughters to help with the family business. Potter's illustrations are thoughtfully painted and showcase the subtle changes in clothing throughout the decades. However, they don't necessarily have the shelf appeal that will motivate a child to choose this book for an independent read. On most spreads, the date that Caplan introduced a new fruit or veggie to the market is listed underneath the drawing with the product name. The text simply relays the basic facts of Caplan's life without connecting the dots. The background information featured at the end of the narrative would have made for welcome additions to enliven the story. VERDICT A straightforward picture book biography that missed the opportunity to elevate the narrative. Not recommended.—Lauren Younger, Univ. of Dallas Lib. - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/01/2020 This picture-book biography of Frieda Rapoport Caplan tells how she introduced produce that was not previously available to American grocery stores in the 1950s. The usual fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, oranges, apples, and tomatoes, sold well as they were tried and true staples. Caplan researched and eventually offered new items in her market that she thought the American public should try. She labeled her produce and even made recipes available, educating her customers and emboldening them to prepare the unusual items. Foods such as jicama, sugar snap peas, blood oranges, kiwi, and dragon fruit were made available to a clientele willing to try new foods. Scattered throughout the book are puns like Farmers dug for tips, “Cooks peppered her with questions, and alliterations (piles of potatoes, “quantities of quince) that add levity to the text. Illustrations in bright colors feature the produce and include people with various skin colors in the naive watercolors. This informative and engaging title may encourage children to try tasting unfamiliar fruits and veggies. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.