I was thrilled when I heard Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo had written a kids book and even more thrilled when she let me know she was sending me a copy for review.
You know when you’re looking for new books for your kids and flipping through the pages reveals, P is for Pizza and C is for Cake? Sandra is complaining about eating broccoli and Billy is stockpiling candy in his room. Doesn’t it just make you sick that our culture deliberately reinforces unhealthy habits and bad behavior?
Occasionally over the years these books have made their way into our house. It was sort of comical that my little one couldn’t understand a simple kids book with all the references to foods she’d never seen. When I found myself explaining pages of nonsense I’d just put down the book and move on.
Not so with Paleo Pals; Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship!
Paleo Pals is the first ever Paleo kids book out there. It’s something our kids can relate to and connect with. That’s why I was excited when I heard about it. But I really had NO IDEA how awesome it was going to be for us.
I received the book in the morning and told Evelyn (who’s six) that we would read it in the evening because I had a lot going on that day with work and packing (we just moved out of the tiny closet we lived in in Denver to a much bigger, more comfortable place in the foothills). All day she pestered me to read it so finally, a bit before dinner time, I sat down on our bare floor and opened the very colorful book.
For me the name Paleo Pals seemed a little cheesy at first. I’ve never identified our diet with a name. The food we eat is nature’s diet. That’s the way I like to quantify it. We only eat food that we can kill or pick. All these years, Evelyn hasn’t known there is a name for it. So for Evelyn, the word Paleo was new. But it was no big deal because Sarah explains it all in the book.
With the turn of each page, Evelyn was seeing kids talking about her diet. She saw them talking about things that her mom had told her again and again. But kids were telling her now. She was clearly enraptured.
The book is pretty long, and I was getting hungry, but Evelyn wouldn’t let me quit. She wanted to finish the story. So we read on.
Evelyn, having been raised to eat this way, didn’t need a superhero to tell her how to change her diet, which is what the Paleo Pals do for Jimmy in the story, but the confident and learned tone of the three Paleo Pals seemed to give her a nudge into ownership of the way she eats.
This is a transition I have been waiting to see. She has always eaten how I’ve eaten because little kids do what their parents tell them to do. But some day, I have hoped, this diet will mean something to her. Someday, she will appreciate this diet and tell her friends why she eats this way. Someday, she will want to decline junk food because she wants to, not because I want her to.
This book seemed to be opening up this new dimension for her.
The publisher told me that Paleo Pals is written in the style of the TV show The Wonder Pets, though I have no idea what that is because we don’t watch TV. Basically, the superheros Paleo Pals teach one regular kid all about why junk food hurts and how Paleo food can change your life. The story is entertaining and empowering as you would hope it would be but Sarah didn’t leave out the important stuff either. The Paleo Pals teach Jimmy to understand the difference between good meats and bad meats, for example.
I loved that Sarah had the guts to add such an important and controversial topic as feedlot meat. Good job Sarah!
Now, if that didn’t win my favor, the end of the book definitely did: 10 pages of kid friendly recipes! As we flipped through the pages, Evelyn couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
“Mom, it’s all junk food, but not!”
Good thing we hadn’t eaten dinner yet because she was determined to start cooking. She chose the mini pizzas first so we put on our jackets and headed to the nearby natural foods store to grab zucchini and almond meal.
Just recently Evelyn has been asking me if she can learn to cook. She’d been grabbing the stool a lot lately as I prepared our meals. Brilliant timing once again for us as she now has her very own first cookbook.
When she bit into the mini pizzas, her eyes searched around the room, almost looking for words to describe her joy. “These are amazing!” she exclaimed.
For the rest of the night she zoomed around the house with some dolls she called the Paleo pals. The next day we made another recipe and the next day another. Evelyn is all about cooking now and delighting in Paleo look-a-likes. Of course, I’m a minimalist cook myself, but I can’t say I mind seeing her take pleasure in preparing and eating any kind of real food.