I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast by Michael Holland

I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: wealth of detail and activities.
Children’s book title: I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast – A celebration of plants around the world.
Children’s author: Michael Holland.
Genre: Children’s nonfiction.
Illustrated by: Philip Giordano.
Published by: Flying Eye Books.
Recommended for children aged: 9-14.
First published: Hardback April 2020.
This children’s book is ideal for: children aged 9-14 interested in ecology, green issues, and DIY style activities.

I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast by Michael Holland

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Our review:

I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast is a cleverly compiled and complete trove of information about plants. Every page is relevant to life in the 2020s, and more importantly present-day children’s lives. With a provocative title and vibrant, eye-catching illustrations by Philip Giordano, this book will grab the attention of older KS2 pupils. Its appeal will be wide-ranging and not limited to those interested in ecology or plants.

The nonlinear and thematic organisation of this book will appeal to reluctant readers. This is a book that can be dipped into – the sections don’t have to be read in order. Split into five parts, I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast covers the physical nature of plants, plant habitats, plants as a source of food and plants as a force for healing, pollution busting and renewable energy. The book is also printed on sustainable FSC paper. Each section includes detailed diagrams, infographics, bursts of facts, and DIY activities for around the home and outside.

I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast sample page

Using I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast in the classroom or home learning

The activities are the book’s greatest strength and are ideal for home learning, extended projects or extension tasks in school. Highlighted in green, the easy to find blocks of activities include building a wild weed bottle garden, making and playing a game of conkers, creating cornflower slime, looking at the how freezing affects trees, growing an upcycled indoor garden, artistic leaf printing, making a musical grass squeaker, potato powered light bulbs, home-made invisible ink, and spotting living landmarks in your local landscape.

Each plant topic is a starting point – in school, this book could form the basis of a year-long extracurricular eco-club. At home, I Ate Sunshine might be the starting point for an extended open-ended home-learning project. Use your school grounds, classroom or garden at home at your habitat, and the book provides a great reference point for ideas, information, and fun activities.


I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast sample page

The text and activities have been put together by plant expert and educator Michael Holland. While not specifically referenced to a curriculum, all the areas covered are relevant to KS2 and early KS3 and offer excellent opportunities to extend learning. The way the book links plants to everyday objects and home activities – cleaning teeth, weeds in the garden, breakfast cereals, sports, and maintaining garden lawns, creates a useful potential for homework projects. The activities promote a wider breadth of learning, investigation, and understanding – ideally suited to the classroom and school-based experiments but also great for encouraging children to learn at home with their parents.

I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast sample page

Our verdict

This is a safe bet for all children aged 9-14, and not just those interested in ecology, green issues and DIY style activities and experiments. The wealth of detail, glorious illustrations, and the robust fat hardback format make this equally suited to home learning outside or inside. If you’re looking for the ideal birthday present for the end of spring into the summer months – this is it – especially if your children have access to an outside space.

Many thanks to Flying Eye Books for a review copy.

If you like this book you might also like The Incredible Ecosystems of Planet Earth by Rachel Ignotofsky, RHS The Magic and Mystery of Trees by Royal Horticultural Society, Jen Green and Claire McElfatrick, In the Garden by Noelle Smit, Slow Down: Bring Calm to a Busy World with 50 Nature Stories by Rachel Williams and Freya Hartas, and Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman.

Why not have a look at our magazines for children and teenagers and our STEM games and resources page.

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About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is a highly qualified (BA Hons, PGCE, QTS) children's literature expert and teacher with over 25 years of experience. He has led inset courses, developed curriculum materials, spoken at conferences, advised on longlisting for several international children's literature literature awards and written for educational publishers including contributing to a BETT award-nominated app. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin