New Children’s Book Shows There’s More to Fruits and Vegetables than “Eat Them”

Best-selling food writer David Goldbeck, coauthor of the newly published The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond: Delicious Alphabet Poems Plus Food, Facts, and Fun for Everyone (Ceres Press, June 2007, $16.95), says that he is tired of the “eat your vegetables” scolding. A former elementary school teacher he created this book to help kids develop a broad, easy-going relationship with these foods.

The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond is noteworthy in that it is really two books in one. The first part, the ABC’s, consists of coauthor Steve Charney’s clever and zany poems about twenty-six common and unusual fruits and vegetables. Charney is a noted children’s entertainer, songwriter, author and literacy promoter. He brings the same genius to the poems as in the songs he wrote for “The Bear in the Big Blue House,” Jim Henson’s Emmy-nominated show.

The second part, Beyond the ABC’s, is as the subtitle describes: Food, Facts, and Fun for Everyone. It is the work of David Goldbeck who, as coauthor with Nikki Goldbeck, is known for nine food books, including the bestsellers The Supermarket Handbook and American Wholefoods Cuisine. In Part Two, Goldbeck, a former elementary school teacher takes kids beyond the ABC’s to a delightful mixture of food lore, recipes, jokes, tongue twisters, unusual facts, shopping tips, and other fun- and thought-provoking activities. Children also discover where many fruits and vegetables come from, learn some Spanish words, and are directed to related books and websites. The forty-three tasty recipes were supplied by Nikki Goldbeck, who served as food editor. The book is beautifully illustrated by Maria Burgelata Larson. David Goldbeck says that his secret plan is to entice kids to eat these important foods “indirectly, by creating a new relationship with vegetables and fruit that is not just about their nutritional importance.”


Noted child nutrition expert Fern Gale Estrow, MS, RD, CDN wrote:

Charney and Goldbeck’s wonderful book of poems and activities will appeal to children as they move through elementary school, exploring food and farming using the alphabet to establish their place in history, geography, art, literature, science, the kitchen, and let us not forget jokes and riddles! Even adults will laugh and learn at least a fact or two – and maybe each of us (young and old) will find an interest in trying something new!


Steve Charney is a nationally known children’s entertainer, magician, ventriloquist, songwriter, radio personality and literacy promoter. His books include Hocus Jokus and Kid’s Kookiest Riddles. He is also the co-host, with his dummy Harry, of the radio program “Knock On Wood.” Steve performs at festivals, theaters, and libraries throughout the world and Steve and Harry often promote literacy in schools as well. He has written dozens of songs for Jim Henson’s TV show “Bear in the Big Blue House

David Goldbeck is coauthor with Nikki Goldbeck of nine food books. These books include the bestsellers TheSupermarket Handbook, American Wholefoods Cuisine and, most recently, Healthy Highways. He is the author of The Smart Kitchen. David, trained as a lawyer, has worked as a waiter, produce man, and elementary school teacher.

Maria Burgaleta Larson grew up in New York City and spent her childhood summers in Cuba. She is a graduate of The Cooper Union and a Fellow of The American Academy in Rome.

Publication Date: May/June 2007

Ages: 4-12 (and beyond)

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