Reviews /

I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast

Authored by Michael Holland
Illustrated by Philip Giordano
Published by Flying Eye Books

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I don’t know why I haven’t come across this book before. It’s not the type of book to get lost in a crowd, because it stands out so much. Also, a lot of people must know about it having been translated into twenty languages. Pretty good for a book I sadly haven’t seen in a book shop. I do hope the paperback grows into an even taller tree and wins more awards too.

At its core, it’s a nonfiction book about plants. However, I would hate to label it as just that. It somehow wouldn’t do justice to the information and artwork. Split into four parts, it covers just about everything you want to know if you have a blossoming interest or curiosity:

  • All About Plants is about the biology, pollination and growth of plants.
  • Then, World of Plants introduces readers to evolution and the plant family tree. It also shows how plants have adapted to different ecosystems and climates.
  • From Breakfast Until Bedtime covers how we use plants in our everyday lives. Food, clothes, smells, colours, and music are all included.
  • Lastly, The Power of Plants explains why plants are so important. Scientific advancements, transportation, construction, words and symbols, and of course, medicine.

Getting it just right, each section goes into just enough detail to be interesting, and enough to want to find out more. This type of nonfiction shows us the world and gives the reader ownership of what part they want to explore.

Sown through each section are “DIY Projects” you can do at home (or in school). These let children learn through experiments, play and creativity.

The layout is what you want from a nonfiction book like this. For example, the neat and tidy text doesn’t clutter the page, and illustrations and diagrams are clear. Bright and beautiful, the colour composition is masterful. Philip Giordano has done a wonderful job at depicting each species accurately yet keeping to his unique style. Top marks for the book’s size, which is easily manageable for children. The glossary words are in bold in the main text too! A+ AND a Gold Star.

And how about that title? I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast. It’s a talking point straightaway. Even just now, a stranger in the public library commented on the book’s title as it sits in front of me as I write.

Michael Holland, Philip Giordano, and Flying Eye Books have created an excellent text. It’s difficult to place in terms of age range as it’s so accessible. Younger children can explore the artwork and share with adults, older children in KS2 will be able to discover so much independently.