HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Zachary’s Dinnertime
Author: Lara Levinson
Illustrator: Cornelius Van Wright
Publisher: Star Bright Books
ISBN-13: 978-1-59572-329-1 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59572-329-3 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59572-330-7 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-59572-330-7 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Levinson, Lara. Zachary’s Dinnertime (published in 2012 by Star Bright Books Inc., 13 Landsdowne St., Cambridge, MA 02139). If you are a kid, do your parents make you help with things at dinnertime? Zachary’s parents do! He has to set the table, with forks on the left and knives and spoons on the right. He has to peel the potatoes, chop the vegetables, and toss the salad. He has to clear the table, wash the dishes, and dry everything. He hates it! So for one whole week, he visits in his friends’ houses for dinner. Yukiko’s family is Japanese-American. Elisa’s family is Mexican-American. Guy’s family is Israeli-American. Edward’s family is African-American. Samir’s family is Indian-American. Each home has such yummy food, and all his friends help with their meals. What important lesson does Zachary learn? And what will he do with his new knowledge?
I can still remember my sons’ occasional whining when they were small and required to assist Mom in the kitchen, although they did learn better. Besides just being a neat story that youngsters will like to read or have read to them, Zachary’s Dinnertime has multiple benefits. First and foremost is the importance of children’s accepting responsibility to help with meals at home. There is also the emphasis on the fun that can be enjoyed when a family does chores like this together. And kids will be introduced to the different foods and cultures of Zachary’s multi-ethnic friends. Do you know what falafel and chutney are? Lara Levinson’s text is easy to read, and Cornelius Van Wright’s whimsical illustrations almost tell the tale all by themselves. I give this book a high five!