'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 3 March 2014

Review: Compost: A Family Guide to Making Soil from Scraps

Last year, my family and I invested in our very first compost bin. It was so very exciting--the thought of making garden gold from kitchen muck was just a thrill, and it's truly amazing how rewarding it can be to scrape that black, sticky mass of superlative nutrition from the bin every few months--to then slather over the garden.

Needless to say, we had a mega veggie crop last year, but the biggest joy of all was in watching the kids and their enthusiasm to be involved.

Composting, once part of everyday living, has made a huge comeback these past years, as have many glorious notions of the past, from yoga to slow travel--and about time, too. In his fabulous book, Compost, Ben Rankin, head of horticulture at the UK's Soil Association, provides an utterly kid-friendly tome that will have mum and dad heading off to Bunnings and wheeling home a bin, in no time.

Contents include: What is compost?, What is soil?, How compost helps soil, Worms galore!, and A compost menu no one but the worms will want to eat! Kids can learn how to create their own compost, how to care for it, what additives they can drum up, the different between hot and cold composts, and how the entire composting system works to our advantage.

Warm, creative, humorous and with a perfect blend of reality and the good old 'ick' factor, kids will love exploring this book, not only for its content but for its design, which includes pull-out pages (a worm measuring chart), spinning wheels (to see which items can be composted), stickers and even a tear-out game - Worms and Ladders. I also love the Compost Bingo.

This book has been bound in a super cool way, with scrapbook-style rivets, giving it a binder effect (and therefore making it unsuitable for kids aged 3 and under). Folksy, earthy illustrations by Tonwen Jones are gorgeously utilised, combined with photos, pull boxes and wonderful typesetting.

Produced in association with the Soil Association and Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, UK.

Title: A Family Guide to Making Soil from Scraps
Author: Ben Raskin
Illustrator: Tonwen Jones
Publisher: Leaping Hare Press, $29.99 RRP
Publication Date:  3 February 2014
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781782400486
For ages: 6 - 12
Type: Non-Fiction Picture Book