It’s not your typical alphabet book, nor is it a common recipe book, but Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolf (Tricycle Press, 2010) gives a fun twist to both types of concept books. Rhyming text lists a number of items that can be added to compost to make a compost pile. The creative list of items gives the reader lots of ideas on just what can be added for compost. A common refrain every few pages says, “Just add to the pot and let it all rot for compost stew.”
Compost Stew would work well as an introduction to composting for everyone. Because of the rhythm and rhyme, the book is interesting and accessible to everyone. Even my seven-year-old daughter requested it more than once. The layered paper look to the illustrations gave the “compost stew” depth as the pile grew and grew. Because of the details included, Compost Stew becomes informational to everyone (including me!) who isn’t familiar with which items can be composted.
The author’s note at the end reminds us of what to not add to the compost pile. Reading this book made me want to start composting.