The Thank You Dish: Book Review

The Thank You Dish by Trace BallaGrace and Mama are sitting down to dinner when they begin to says thank you for the meal. So what do alpacas, kangaroos, and Leo have to do with it all?

Title: The Thank You Dish
Author: Trace Balla
Illustrator: Trace Balla
ISBN: 9781760292355          Language: English

Classification: Fiction
Themes: cause and effect, environment, Australia

What’s it about?
A conversation between Grace and Mama begins when Mama thanks the rain, soil and sunshine for the dinner. This prompts Grace to add a thanks to the kangaroos – Mama is confused until Grace explains she wants to thank the kangaroos for not eating all the carrots. The story continues with Grace thanks various animals and people – including Mama for preparing the meal.

This book has a great balance of dialogue and description. It flows from one ‘thanks’ to the next well and the illustrations support the text very well. The author has also voiced Grace well with appropriate child-like expressions.

Nothing for this one.

The Thank You DIsh BUYMy Thoughts
This book is nominated on the Notables List for Book Week 2018 in the Early Childhood category. The author, Trace Balla, also had a book in the running for Book Week in 2017 in the form of Rockhopping. Admittedly, I find this book is a far more enjoyable read over Rockhopping, This book centres on a conversation between a parent and child and I appreciate that it shows them eating together at a table in the illustrations – I know, this is probably a small detail but I really like books that promote positive meal eating scenes!

From a learning perspective I feel this book is a great “launch” book (ie. use it to kick start a new topic in your classroom). It shows that food just doesn’t appear on a plate all by itself – I have taught a surprisingly large number of students who thought all supermarkets “made” food and I live in a rural city which is concerning. This book shows there are animals, people, and actions – a community even – behind what is on one’s plate to eat.

At home this book can lead to conversations about where the ingredients of your own meals come from and even kick-start a vegetable garden patch at home. At school it could be incorporated into school garden lessons (for those that have one) or looking at where things come from – best suited for the grade 1-3 age.

Thank You Dish by Trace Balla SAMPLE The other really great aspect of this book is how quintessentially Australian it is. Trace just doesn’t mention kangaroos and leave it at that – it’s the details you see in the illustrations of the country life with kanagroos, watertanks, and gumnut blossoms on the table. These details allow Australian kids to relate to the book if they are country-living and to open dialogue with city-living children about how different the lifestyle is.

Trace Balla author website

What do you think?