Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen *Review

 The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen
By Diana Prichard
Illustrated by Heather Devlin Knopf

Patrick O’Shanahan is an ordinary boy who has always known exactly where his food comes from: the grocery store. Always, that is, until a cow, a menagerie of chickens and some very peculiar trees show up in his kitchen one Saturday morning, making him question everything he’s always known about the ingredients that go into Dad’s “World Famous French Toast.”

In The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen (Little Pickle Press, November 2013), author Diana Prichard presents a fun story aimed at engaging children and their families in fair, balanced farm-to-fork dialogue. Prichard draws on three decades in a rural farming community, a dozen years as a mother, and almost ten years as a farmer to craft the next classic in children’s literature.

“Watching people who have little to no practical knowledge of agriculture dominate our national discourse on food and farming is extremely frustrating. I wanted to contribute a positive and informed message for parents and kids,” Prichard says. “When I sat down to begin writing I had no idea what story would be the vehicle for this discussion, but Patrick sort of leapt onto the page and took control.”

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen is a must-read for families interested in responsible farming and food production. In fact, Prichard hopes her new book will be the catalyst to many important family conversations including: 

  • Where our food comes from and the farm-to-table concept;
  • Diversity in American agriculture and appreciation for farmers; and
  • Planning family meals around seasonal produce at the farmer’s market.

“When kids visit us on farm tours, they often appear awestruck and bewildered when they learn how food is produced. For some, it’s as though an entirely new world has opened up before their eyes,” adds Prichard. “It’s clear we need to have more conversations with children, our future decision makers, for them to understand the importance of supporting agriculture as much as adults.”

 My Thoughts
Being a former farmer, this book really was a fantastic addition to our collection. I loved how the author brought the reality of our food from the field to the table in an easy to understand manner. I enjoyed the illustrations and the interaction between the characters in the book. This was one my kids have had me read again and again! Great for non farm kids to really get a picture of what it means to get food on their table and the brilliance of the farmers around them.

Diana Prichard is a farmer and author who writes at the intersection of farm, fork, and family life. Prichard blogs at RighteousBacon and can be found on Twitter at @diana_prichard. Her work has been featured in/on CNN, NBC’s iVillage, Huffington Post, and BlogHer Food. Prichard has presented to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and MidWest Poultry Federation.


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