I almost did not review No Ordinary Pizza: A Story about Interconnection by Sara Marlowe. But just because it was not something I loved, did not mean it was not a book people should not hear about. I would like to qualify my comment of I did not love it by saying, I probably had factors that were in play that colored my opinion. I was not comfortably sitting reading it, I was tired, and I have read several similar books and the theme is starting to become repetitive.
However, the idea of interconnection is now being shown in a practical manner. This makes the “we are family” theme more relatable. Sure, tell me my plastic bottle can hurt the ocean, but I am more likely to understand my cheese comes from that farm “down the road” easier.
On the last day of school Elliot and his friends are having a pizza party. And they are going to have the best pizza ever. Instead of calling up “1-800-Pizza-To-Go” they handmake it. Then, the adult in the group tells them, close their eyes, and not only taste the pizza, but smell it, feel it, and hear it. They realize how all the sharp tastes, and spices and how it feels is connected to make it truly a great pizzza. To eat slowly and experience it makes it good. And the connections do not stop there. They then learn how there were farmers that grew the food, that a driver took it to the store, the cow made the cheese by giving milk and so forth. Even tiny bees have a part to play.
And while this is grand, here is why I am not completely on board. It became a bit “touchy feeling” for me. They are not just eating pizza with friends, but with the planet! They stand and shout out thanks to the cows, sunshine, bees, farmers, etc. The tone is a bit “Oh isn’t this wooonderful!” and sing-song. Now some people would find that the only way to go, that “old school happy tone” is what they want. Me? Not as much. And Philip Pascuzzo’s illustrations keep that tone going. The images are simple, colorful, modern and remind me of a Veggie Tale style. Not my bowl of sauce.
Yet, I do like the themes of gratefulness, to stop and smell the pizza, to be here in the moment. And maybe in a different head space I would be okay, but that reading day was not it.