Cover Image: Foraging with Kids

Foraging with Kids

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Member Reviews

While I enjoyed this book, in my e-ARC the photos did not show up properly and some graphics did not either, so I can't comment on their quality and have to drop a star. Pity, as I love looking at nature, but they are just a small portion. I am sure the book will be very useful and a great source of interest and discussion, especially among Scouts and Guides. 

Whether making blackberry jam or picking samphire or ramson, scent is a major part of how we interact with plants which are edible.  The ideas for cookery sound as if they would taste delicious too, though you may have to persuade kids to eat cleavers leaf omlette. 

Personally I do not recommend eating wild fungi or handlng them; the author names a few of the more identifiable edible ones and does give a warning, including not to pick any growing from the toxic yew tree trunks. I would also warn of pesticides and roadside pollution.

Too often kids just see plants in packets in the shop, and need to understand where they grow and how we cultivated them. This foraging guide will give food for thought as well as for eating. 

I downloaded an e-ARC from Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.
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This book leads you through the woods to explore what is edible, with simple recipes included. For children and youth who are not into making crafts, foraging for food in nature provides a bit more daring alternative. For youth leaders who regularly take kids on hikes, this book provides a great resource identifying plants and exploring what you can do with them.  The book is written for a primarily British audience, but much of it is applicable to the forests of North America.
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I really want to give this book 5 stars.  As a homeschooling family that are foodies, Zero Wasters and love herbalism- there's so much to love about this book.  However, as other reviewers have started the illustrations are lacking. I just don't feel they're effective enough to make foraging totally safe- especially for kids.

This would be an EXCELLENT book for use alongside a photographic field guide.  It would also be great for a foraging course, nature group, scout troop or teacher looking for a unique study. The information is top notch and I love the incorporation of recipes throughout.  It's a great book to use side-by-side with your child and forage together.  

Will be purchasing copies for gifts and my nature study group.

I was grateful to receive an ARC from NetGalley of this book and share my honest opinions with you.
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This is an interesting book, but has significant let-downs.  It is a little confused whether it is aimed at the child or adult market, as it kind of aims for both.  Each section is usefully laid out, with the names in different languages, which is great for the multi-cultural society we live in.  It has useful recipes to show off the fruits of your foraging labour. 

It would be useful to have a map of the UK saying how common each entry is, depending on where you are.  There are black line drawings, but no photographs or colour, which I feel is a fatal flaw.

Whilst the book says to only take what you need, some of the recipes call for large amounts of foraged fruit.  If you don't like the result, then this would result in waste, so the recipes need cutting down to produce just one jar of product.  The reader can always scale it up.

There are two furthur fatal failures of the book - legality and safety.  There is nothing on the legality of foraging, and if you forage on private land.  It isn't foraging if it is being grown in someones garden!  Get the owners permission - they may be waiting for just the right moment to pick their sloes or elderflowers, only to realise that someone has already taken them.  For responsible foraging, seek permission from the landowner.  On some woodland sites, foraging may not be allowed because of the delicate balance of the ecosystem - Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The second, and vitally important, is to say what else each item could be mistaken for.  Only eat what you are 100% confident you know what it is.  There are many berries, plants and fungi out there that are poisonous, so it would be useful for the book to reference these and say how to distinguish them from edible, so that foragers are confident on what they are eating and stay safe.  I also didn't notice anything to do with hygiene, where you forage (preferably not next to a main road), washing and signs of pest infestation.  I wouldn't eat anything foraged near a dog walking route, so look around the area before sampling.

And, as a minor complaint, the book is ordered alphabetically, but it would be far better if it was ordered by commonly foraged items.  Everyone has gone blackberry picking - start with that.  There is nothing poisonous that looks like a blackberry.  Then take a look at what else is growing in the hedge.  There may be sloes and wild roses, with nettles growing in the margins.  What else could you try from the hedgerow?  Or in a woodland in early summer - notice the heady stink of garlic - look around for some wild garlic.  On the fringes of the woodland, there may be hazlenuts (why are they not included?) and sloes.  There are no nuts other than chestnuts.  The book doesn't mention that sloes are better bletted - picked after the first frost to lessen their sourness, but you could pick them early, if they are ripe, and put them in the freezer to simulate this.  This is why sloes are traditionally picked in autumn, and sloe gin is a Christmas tipple.  

If you are in Scotland, look out for sea buckthorn - but taste them first, as they are not to everyones palate.

So.  Basically, this book i sadly lacking.  There are others, far superior, already published.
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Great concept for a very educational book. Illustrations are nice, but just pen and ink when color (photography) really seems the most appropriate tool for instructing. Thanks for the ARC! I don't feel ready to forage just yet, unfortunately.
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I like how this is laid out, with charts and tables, but also with great illustrations beside descriptive text.  The one thing I would change is labeling it a bit more geography-specific; I'm not sure that some of the 'common' grasses / herbs / etc are actually to be found in our southwest American zone, but that would be the only change I'd make.  Would love to see one of these that is specific to our area!  Nonetheless, there is still quite a bit that we can get out of the classroom and hunt for....like elderberry!
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I love the idea behind this book and although the text is set just right for young children to teenagers the planet identification from outline drawings just falls short. Don’t get me wrong I love these simple drawings but I feel that they would be better if a photograph was also used. Colour is also very important when identifying a plant correctly. A bright red of a poisonous berry as different from the dark red of an edible berry. The book cover would work well if used throughout the book.
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While I loved the idea behind this I don't know if I would feel safe to go out an forage with my children or advise others to do the same as the illustrations are just black and white drawings and could be difficult to compare to the real life plants and berries. I loved the recipes and maybe this could be a great supplemental resource but by itself I think it needs actual photograph representations.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love, love ,love this book. It is packed full of so much information all in one place. it really could take the place of several books. 

The recommendation to get to know plants by drawing them and labeling them is brilliant, both for adults and children, to study them with a magnifying glass is also brilliant, a super way to bring you up close and personal with nature .
The calendar is easy to understand and very helpful.

The drawings are really nice and so detailed , although i knew a good few of the plants there was many i didn't know the names of. Having looked at the detailed sketches i clearly recognize them.

The info on each plant is outstanding, not only covering history, names in other countries, uses, how to identify, where to find and at what time of the year but also recipes for it, and some lovely ones at that. 
I cant wait to try the several of them with the kids.
I like the categories it is split into, fruit,berry and flowers/wild herbs and weeds/fungi/onion, garlic and mustard/ trees and even coastal plants. This makes it a lot easier to find the information you need faster.

This is a must for walkers, anyone interested in foraging even slightly, anyone who spends time outdoors in nature as well as being used to forage with children.

All in all a brilliant book that i will certainly be buying copies of, for our family and as a wonderful gift.
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