Book Review of Jolene: Adventures of a Junk Food Queen
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The Children’s Book Review
Jolene: Adventures of a Junk Food Queen
Created by Alexa Palmer and Catharine Kaufman
Illustrated by John Martinez and Hayden Mills
Ages 4-10 | 60 Pages
Publisher: Palmer and Kaufman | ISBN-13: 978-0-615136301
What to Expect: Adventure, silliness, healthy habits
Jolene is a junk food queen, much to her family and friends’ chagrin. She dresses for school in her favorite junk food: red licorice in her hair, jellybean boots, a belt made out of potato chips, and candy cane earrings! “I love my junk food… Inside of me and out, you can’t change that. It’s what I am about.”
Every day she and her friend Sugar Sam eat their junk food lunches by themselves while the Munch Bunch tries to convince them to make healthier choices and eat organic fruits and vegetables instead. But Jolene and Sam are stuck in their ways and want nothing to do with healthy food until one night when Jolene has a fantastical dream that changes her mind about food.
In her dream, Jolene has an extraordinary journey where she meets an array of characters, such as the Cavity Ranger, Doctor-Do-Dye, and the Phantom of the French Fries. They teach her about the dangers of junk food. She also meets Salad Head Fred, the Blender Babes, and the Broccoli Bears, who convince her that healthy food is tasty and good for her body. When Jolene wakes in the morning, she is a changed girl, and she seeks to help her friend Sugar Sam change for the better, too.
Palmer and Kaufman do a marvelous job of showing readers how eating better for you makes you feel better. They also do an excellent job of incorporating the concept of moderation in eating junk food. By using vivid descriptions and memorable characters, they have created an engaging lesson for their readers.
Martinez and Mills’ lively and quirky illustrations do a great service in breaking up what could be considered a text-heavy story. The images draw the reader into the wacky adventure and provide great visuals of Jolene and her health guides.
While this book is longer than a standard picture book, it makes for a great read-aloud experience. There are natural breaks in the story to make it a multiday read for younger audiences; older children will be able to enjoy the book in one sitting. Jolene: Adventures of a Junk Food Queen naturally lends itself to lessons on nutrition that would be easily adaptable for every level from preschool through grade school. The authors have also included recipes for healthy smoothies at the back of the book, which makes it even more fun!
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About Catharine Kaufman
Catharine is a humorous syndicated newspaper columnist, writing under the moniker of “The Kitchen Shrink”. She is a television and radio personality, has appeared in dozens of national magazines and has collaborated on several books and projects with authors and agents. Catharine lives in Del Mar, California, focusing her energy and passion on weaning as many people–but especially children and young adults–off toxic foods and guiding them on a fun journey to healthy living.
About Alexa Palmer
Alexa Palmer resides in Rancho Mirage, California, where she has raised three daughters- Alexandra, Stephanie and Christina. A preschool teacher who has been passionate about writing since the age of 8, Alexa also has a background in performing arts from the University of London and Oxford University. She is a published songwriter formerly studying under the tutelage of the late Buddy Kaye and is excited about launching the musical version she created for Jolene.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This is a sponsored*, non-biased review of Jolene: Adventures of a Junk Food Queen. Learn more about getting a book review …
My daughter is a nutrition professor and offers suggestions for eating healthy as a lifelong commitment. Fresh foods and foods prepared without much added salt and sugar make for healthy bodies all through life. Her kids would like this book and understand better what “good food” is. I like the illustrations and the color pink on the book cover.