Sun in My Tummy Reviews



School Library Journal★ Starred Review

“Mixed-media artwork creates striking color variation and subtle dimension, lifting the illustrations right off the page and resulting in a natural flow throughout the story. Blinick’s deliberate use of line moves the eye across the page in perfect accompaniment to the narrative, highlighting the story’s theme of interconnection. The main character and her mother both have brown skin and straight black hair. VERDICT This book is as essential as sunshine; the absolutely beautiful STEM story is as absorbing as photosynthesis itself.”

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Quill & Quire★ Starred Review

“A breakfast table conversation between a girl and her mother encompasses big concepts like energy, plant life cycles, and photosynthesis in a child-friendly manner. Toronto author Laura Alary’s poetic rumination about how the sun nourishes us all offers food for thought. The sunny and bright mixed-media illustrations from Andrea Blinick are inviting. –LL”

Find this review in the Jan/Feb 2022 edition


“Bright, page-filling illustrations with whimsical details (a cow in an inner tube floats in a cereal bowl) align with the text and offer visual reinforcement. The text does include some technical details but always in a naive, impressed way that supports the overall magical tone. Perfect for reading out loud, this engaging tale could be used as an introduction to elementary science units and also to encourage young readers to find the magic in everyday things.”

Find this review in the March 2022 edition

Youth Services Book Review

“What did you like about the book? The unnamed main character wakes up excited to get some sun in their tummy. At first I was expecting a storyline similar to “there was an old lady who swallowed a fly”; instead, the book has a beautiful narrative about photosynthesis. Readers are first introduced to how oats are made, then how the blueberries are grown, and lastly, to the milk that goes into the bowl. Each step along the way we meet another part of the yummy bowl of oatmeal. The illustrations are brightly colored pencil-like drawings of how oats grow, how blueberries grow, and even how birds and bees help pollinate flowers. This is a great way to talk about the cycles of food and how we end up with some of the yummy dishes that become part of our family routines.”

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YA Books Central

“While there is more technical detail about photosynthesis in the author’s note at the back of the book, this is a good introduction to the concept of plants harnessing the sun to make energy for themselves, and also energy to pass on to human consumers. The idea that a bowl of oatmeal, blueberries, and milk all contain the sun is a happy way to think about nutrition, and perhaps a good way to entice reluctant eaters. Alary’s language is very poetic, and the book reads more like free verse than a science text.”

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CM: Canadian Review

“One morning a little girl wakes up and finds her mother making breakfast in the kitchen. In an effort to make her daughter understand how the sun creates the food we eat, which, in turn, gives us energy for the day, her mother begins explaining the process of photosynthesis.

As her mother explains, it all begins with the sun. Whether it’s the oats that make up the girl’s oatmeal, or the blueberries that sweeten it, or the milk that makes it taste so delicious, everything in her bowl is connected to the earth through an exceptional process that combines the sun, some air, and water. And voila, the little girl now has the sun in her tummy which will keep her going for the rest of the day.”

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Shelf Awareness

“Laura Alary (Here) blends poetry and science to deliver a yummy explanation of the energy required to make a child’s oatmeal breakfast….Alary’s sweet text is accompanied by Andrea Blinick’s cheerful gouache, colored pencil, collage and chalk pastel art, which uses strong swooping lines to illustrate the interconnectedness of all the parts involved….This bright, inviting picture book warms the audience’s tummies and hearts with its nibble-size bites of big science concepts. The author’s note on photosynthesis is a bonus for budding biologists, but Sun in My Tummy will charm all, regardless of possible future ambitions.”

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Cloud Lake Literary

“I love the circular nature of each journey through the chain of photosynthesis, done in accessible and pretty language. Each turn layers beautifully on top of the other until the young protagonist—and young readers—understand the meaning of having the sun in their tummy.

Now let’s talk about the pictures, which are just adorable. They are warm and full of clever details (like cow spots on the carton of milk and a bright sun on the belly of the protagonist’s red t-shirt) alongside cozy morning rituals (mugs of tea, fuzzy slippers, and sleepy slouching at the table). Blinick is a mixed media artist, and the cut-out effect is beautifully used in this book. The palette is reminiscent of a country kitchen, with an abundance of golds and yellows interspersed with green, red, and blue. The sun is ever present, and each spread gets brighter and brighter until the protagonist is awake, energized, and ready to start her day.

For those of us that like a fictionalized feel to our nonfiction, this book delivers. It’s accessible, fun, and informative but does not scrimp on the science (there is even a one-page Author’s Note describing the process of Photosynthesis). It could just as easily be read as a bedtime story as used as a learning tool in a classroom environment. An excellent choice for parents, caregivers, or educators. Loved this read.”

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Children’s Literature-CLCD

“The final page of the book includes a scientific description of the chemistry of photosynthesis for curious young minds ready to understand the ‘magic’ referenced in the main text. A clever book to help young children understand where our food comes from and how it grows and passes energy to us: food is fuel, and sometimes that means the warm-heartedness of sunlight! The colorful, fun, and unique illustrations bring real delight to this read and absolutely enhance the book’s appeal, with lots to visually discover.”

Canadian Children’s Book News

“The sun is the true star of this charming picture book by Laura Alary and Andrea Blinick. Sun in My Tummy is a great supplement to any science lesson or a way to build gratitude and understanding in subtle ways for the role of nature in our lives.”

Find this review in the Spring 2022 edition

A Kids Book A Day

“Oatmeal, blueberries, and milk may seem like a ho-hum breakfast, but there is magic in the foods we eat.  The oats and the blueberries grew out of the soil, warmed by the sun, and watered by the rain.  They make food from sunlight, creating seeds which can be used to grow new plants.  The cow was able to make milk because she ate grass that grew with the help of sun and rain as well.  “Inside everything, if you look deep enough, you will find the sun. Warm-hearted. Generous. Giving.”  Includes additional information about photosynthesis.”

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Book Time

“One of my favourite pages is when she walks down the stairs in the dark, not overly pleased about having to wake up, and in the kitchen her mom is making oatmeal and the entire kitchen is bright and sunny. Readers learn how the sun, soil and rain make the plants and blueberries grow as well as provides the grass the cow eats that gives her the milk for her oatmeal.

Alary talks about the magic of how the sun allows us to live and eat and grow. In her author’s note, Alary calls the process of plants covering air, water and sunlight into food, but reminds readers it’s not really, rather it’s chemistry.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“The second-person narrative is soothing and informative as it includes instruction on plant life cycles, food webs, and photosynthesis. It provides a clear and logical explanation for a complex process, and leaves young readers with an easy awareness for the breakfast foods that sustain them during their day. Questions are asked, comparisons are made – all with the purpose of helping young children know the importance of the sun. After a filling and healthy breakfast, the girl is off to catch her school bus with sun in her tummy.

Andrea Blinick’s mixed-media artwork is filled with the sunlight that benefits all. From making its appearance at dawn to its growing brilliance as mother and daughter tuck into their nutritious meal, the sun is always in the background doing its amazing work. Many lovely details on each spread will encourage further attention and discussion. The cow literally floating in her cereal bowl will elicit tiny giggles.

An author’s note further explains photosynthesis for readers.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“What might you see in a bowl of oatmeal?…Perfect for STEM lessons about plants and life cycles, Sun in My Tummy will brighten any classroom or library and help young children understand how the sun in their tummies, whether oatmeal or another cereal, got there.”

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“You know one of my favorite ways to get readers into nonfiction?! Sneaking it into a picture book! There’s something about following a story, characters and all, and finding facts scattered about the pages that don’t interrupt, but complement, the story… Sun In My Tummy does just that. Readers follow a child, woken by the sun, getting ready to eat their oatmeal breakfast. The author gives background on how the sun played a factor in growing the oats when they were still in the field… We enjoyed this one!”

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“This book is a beautiful explanation for photosynthesis creatively written in story form…I love the metaphor the author uses to describe how plants create energy from the sun. This makes it easy for children to understand…This book finds a way to turn science, which can be very logical and factual, to literature which is descriptive and imaginative. In addition, Sun In My Tummy shows the interconnectedness of life and how we are dependent on the sun. The illustrations are gorgeous.”

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“Just imagine the smell and taste of hot oatmeal with blueberries mixed in. This book takes you on a journey of that delicious home cooked meal…If you look hard enough, you’ll see the sun in everything. [Its] generosity and warmness brought that sweet girl her hot breakfast which brings her energy for her big day at school. She has the sun in her tummy. A concluding authors note shares further information about photosynthesis for young readers.”

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The International Educator

“This is a picture book that looks at the magic of an ordinary breakfast. Did you know that the sun made the seeds grow that become your oatmeal?…Follow the magic of sunshine through familiar food to marvel at a miracle we take for granted.”

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Sueann Hall (Instagram)

“This book introduces readers to the interconnectedness of the land and our food source in a way that is simple for kids to understand. The illustrations…not only help with that process, but are also cheerful and tie the book together. I also enjoyed the facial expressions that are captured by in the spreads.

A great conversation starter about food, farms, science, etc… I believe that this book would be a welcome addition to any library.”

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Charlotte Offsay (Instagram)

“In this brand-new picture book, we see how a young girl gets the energy she needs for the day….This is sure to be a hit with curious littles and is a great introduction to harnessing energy and learning about where our food comes from. Complete with lyrical text and warm illustrations!⁠”

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