Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Children's Book Review: To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081099738X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810997387
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.1 x 0.4 inches


Known for art that celebrates the virtues of community, hard work, and living gently on the planet, Nikki McClure here explores a topic close to her heart: the farmers market. Alternating between story and fact, this lovingly crafted picture book follows a mother and son to the weekly market. As they check off items on their shopping list, the reader learns how each particular food was grown or produced, from its earliest stages to how it ended up at the market. To Market, to Market is a timely book that shines awareness on the skill that goes into making good food.

My Thoughts:

To Market, To Market is a great book to share with children as you introduce them to sustainable living and the importance of supporting local growers by visiting and shopping at local farmer's markets.  My family is part of a CSA, so every Friday we pick up our week's share of veggies from a local farm here in CT.  Even though our daughter is too young to understand the concept of supporting our local farms, she has been reaping the benefits of locally grown produce.  Since she began eating solids, we have introduced her to carrots, beans, peas and tomatoes -- all of which have become weekly staples in her diet and her favorite foods.  I don't think she would be a fan of them if she continued to eat them from the baby food jars.  Instead, she gets to experience these organically grown vegetables and get the full nutritional value from consuming them.

Back to the book -- this book, through its beautiful cut-paper illustrations done by Nikki McClure introduces young readers to various crops and produce that one may find at a local farmer's market including apples, cheese, honey, kale, salmon and more.  Read along as you visit different vendors with a young boy and his mother.  At each stall, the reader learns about how each vendor produces or makes his product/goods.  This book is also a great way to introduce gardening with little children.  After reading it through by myself, I thought, I could start a little veggie garden with my daughter as a spin off after reading this book together.  The story ends with a family sitting down to a bountiful dinner, which is made up of items picked up at the farmer's market.

Overall, I have to give this book 5 stars, as it educates children on many levels.  If you have young children at home who think that the food that is put on the table is only available at a grocery store, why not open their eyes to the whole new world by reading this story to them, and taking them to a local farmer's market.  Who knows, you may even spark an interest in your child to want to become a farmer or at most, eat healthier, with more healthy fruit and vegetable options available to them.

About the Author:

Nikki McClure is a self-taught artist who has been making paper-cuts since 1996. She is the author and illustrator of Collect Raindrops and Mama, Is It Summer Yet? and the illustrator of All in a Day, by Cynthia Rylant, which won the Pacific Northwest Bookseller's award. She visits her farmers market in Olympia, Washington, every week. Visit her online at

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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