Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Treat Yourself!

Treat Yourself!
written by Jessica Siskin
2017 (Workman Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Even if you're not the stereotypically crafty type, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make a really cool-looking and delicious tasting dessert.

So here's the dilemma: You want your child to work on reading and math over the summer, but you also want them to relax a little and take a break from school-like activities. Here's one solution: Engage them in an ultra fun activity that requires reading and math skills and they get to post it on social media. The kicker is getting to eat the fruits of their labor at the end. In Treat Yourself, ninety-three different ways to have a lively, ooey-gooey crispy rice good time are presented. There's no baking involved, but plenty of krispy goodness. Starting off, I wouldn't skip the introduction from author Jessica Siskin aka @mister_krisp. It's a big batch of encouragement for young people to pursue their dreams and take off with their imaginations. There are way more people in our lives who encourage us to stay in the box, so it's nice to have a voice that says go for it with your creativity.  Following the introduction is a short explanation page for how to use the book and another four pages with the basic recipe that will be the base for your creations. A sequence of pictorial steps for making it is also included. There are a lot of opportunities for sneaky learning here. You have to read a procedural text and comprehend. Math skills will be needed for making sure you concoct the proper amount. One hint: You'll want plenty of cooking spray on hand. Other pages in the beginning section include tricks, troubleshooting tips, and special decorating ingredients. After that, the bulk of the book is the ninety-three recipes in alphabetical order. From apples to zebras. Want something for a holiday? It's covered here from flags to trees to turkeys. Watching a big game? Many sports are represented in the recipes. How cool would it be for your child to make a wedding cake treat for a relative's bridal shower? So many ideas here. Each recipe has a sequence of pictures to guide you and the materials and equipment needed to make the treat. The back matter of the book contains resources, FAQs where the author is candid about gluten free and vegan possibilities, and some cool conversion charts.

I think Treat Yourself! is a book for all seasons, but it screams summer to me. If you have time at home with your kids, this is definitely a fun activity. That doesn't mean you couldn't try this in a classroom. I've worked with many brave moms and dads who would be willing to work with students at a holiday party/science center. Think about a unit on rocks and how elements (heat, water) shape them. Studying friction? This would be an interesting way to tackle several science topics. Treat Yourself! is packed with plenty of hands-on learning enjoyment.

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