In the new children’s book, “When Good Fruit Goes Bad”, Vernon D. Gibbs and Stephen T. Gray tackle not only the subject of food waste, but also introduce the idea of self worth. Using hilarious pictures of angry fruit that is a bit overripe, or slightly bruised, Gibbs and Gray fill this fun, quick and informative book on how all of our food, even though it may be a little ripe or imperfect, can still be used and not discarded. The story revolves around a shop owner, Hank Huckleberry, who is quick to discard a bruised apple that then proceeds to take over his fruit and vegetable shop in protest of being mistreated. We are not all perfect fruit, despite some bumps and bruises, we all have value and are all deserving of each others respect. Hank seems overwhelmed, and lost in his shop as it is taken over by the growing number of angry and ignored fruit. What is Hank to do? If only someone could come to the rescue… Enter our hero, Sarah Sweets!
The brilliantly subtle messages that children’s books writers can use, intentional or not, is one of the reasons that I love reading these good books to my children. A simple story being told with an interesting character that we see, we accept, we fight for, and we admire. When the opportunity comes to use a super hero that is NOT your typical, which until recently, has been mostly handsome white male in tights with a cape type of character, but instead a brave and thoughtful author can make that smart choice that will resonate much more with the reader. Our super hero is a female, person of color named Sarah Sweets. She appears in the doorway in a giant yellow shock of glowing lightning- yes! We see her, we accept her, we fight beside her, and we admire her!
Think of that little four year old girl who sees herself – someone she looks like and admires, coming in to save the day! It is an image that has been missing from most children’s books for far too long. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at The University of Wisconsin cites that of the 4,035 books they received that had been published in 2019- only 471 had Black/African characters. (U.S. publishing only). More representation like Sarah Sweets is needed in children’s books!
This is a great book that I really enjoyed reading with my kids. The colors are bright and perfect for young children working on colors and shapes recognition. The language is not too difficult and can be easily accessible to an early emergent reader. Being a rhyming book it makes each line fun to read and predict.
“When Good Fruit Goes Bad” is Available at Amazon !