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Before We Eat


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About the Author

Pat Brisson is the author of 20 books for young readers, including The Summer My Father Was Ten and Sometimes We Were Brave, Tummy Time Friends, and Common Critters. A graduate of Rutgers University, she is a former elementary school teacher, school librarian, and public-library reference librarian. Pat lives in New Jersey with her husband. Artist Mary Azarian is the Caldecott-Medal winning illustrator of Snowflake Bentley, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (1999, Houghton Mifflin). She created the pictures for Before We Eat by first carving the pictures in wood (in reverse!) and then printing them with ink onto paper before adding the color with watercolor paints. She lives and creates her art on a hilltop farm in Vermont.


"An especially and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections." -- Midwest Review of Books
"This eye- and ear-catching read-aloud makes a wonderful discussion-starter for exploring how food is produced, acquired, and appreciated." -- School Library Journal
"What did you like about the book? Anyone who has ever lived in Vermont would be well familiar with the artwork of Mary Azarian. In this book she first carved the pictures in wood before printing them with ink and onto paper and then adding color with acrylic paints. Her very detailed illustrations have the feeling of folklore, which perfectly complement the words of Pat Brisson. Food begins with plowing the ground and planting the seeds, tending the fields and removing the weeds. Eggs are gathered, cows are milked, and honey is harvested from the bees. The items reach warehouses where they are packed into crates and carried to the grocery market for you to buy - and eat. The book is a tribute to all who take part in this process from the very beginning to the very end." -- Katrina Yurenka, YSBR Moderator - Youth Services Book Review,
"Before We Eat is a gentle, lovely introduction to good, nutritious, locally grown food and the people who make sure it's there for us. We can all give thanks for that, and for this book." -- Anupama Joshi, Executive Director and Co-Founder, National Farm to School Network
"Sumptuous." -- Horn Book Guide
"A simple poem thanking the people who grow, transport, sell and prepare our food is transformed by Azarian's bright woodcuts... A warm celebration of both small farms and the idea that it takes a village to feed a child. (Picture book. 2-6)" -- Kirkus
"An irresistible tapestry." -- Washington Post
"With beguiling illustrations and a lovely spare text, this book will inspire conversations with young children about the origins of their food and start them on the path to being careful stewards of the environment." -- Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D., Co-founder, The Family Dinner Project, Associate Clinical Professor, Harvard Medical School
"Cultivating an attitude of gratitude as a healthy thing to do. In recent years much has been published about the numerous benefits of being grateful. The article on gratefulness says that gratitude reduces stress and boosts the immune system, both of which improve quality of life all the way around. ...The book is a thoughtful examination of where food comes from- that is before is gets to the grocery store. ...Pages show people engaged in every manner of food production: plowing, planting, harvesting, milking, egg gathering, packing and weighing crates, driving delivery trucks and cashiering at the grocery store. It is a wonderfully inclusive and honest way to view food acquisition." -- Jennifer Prince - Children's Book Review, Citizen-Times, Ashville NC

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