Let’s Eat Weeds! (Annie Raser-Rowland & Adam Grubb, illus by Evie Barrow, Scribble)
I can’t think of anything more anxiety-provoking than helping children decide which weeds are safe to eat. But Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-Rowland tackle the task with humour, zeal and confidence—plus specific warnings and a general disclaimer. This sensible guide to finding, preparing and eating common weeds is a young readers’ equivalent to The Weed Forager’s Handbook—Grubb and Raser-Rowland’s earlier and very successful guide for adults—and would suit children from upper primary onward (with adult guidance). The pair’s personable style makes you feel like you’re out on a wander with them, and the recipes and descriptions of flavours will make you want to jump up and go straight into your kitchen, via your own weedy garden. The range is broad, progressing from plants that are easy to find and very safe, to the second half of the book offering a ‘careful-ometer’ based on specific risk. The book is liberally sprinkled with tips and did-you-know boxes, and expressive attention to detail means Let’s Eat Weeds! includes quirks like ‘Real-Size Bee’ peeping from plants throughout, as a size reference. Artist Evie Barrow’s constitutive contribution brings to the authors’ expertise and infectious enthusiasm the most splendid of botanical illustrations, giving the book a loveliness well beyond simple instruction. The delicate, rich renderings of the plants manage to merge a pencil-soft feel with a vintage scientific style, coming together in a book that is as beautiful as it is motivating. I still don’t think I’m brave enough to try foraging, but if I did, it would be with this first-rate book by my side.
Anica Boulanger-Mashberg is a freelance editor, writer and reviewer, and has worked as a bookseller at The Hobart Bookshop for over 10 years. Read her interview with Annie Raser-Rowland here.