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Percival Perkins The Particular and Picky Eater

Includes A Do It Yourself Container Garden Activity and Resource Guide!

Written by: Loren Rozakos Illustrated by: Courtney Thomas Layout by: Chelsea Brink

Percival Perkins The Particular and Picky Eater Written by: Loren Rozakos

Text Copyright © 2010 by Loren Rozakos Illustrations Copyright © Courtney Thomas This story and illustrations represent copyrighted material and may only be reproduced in whole for personal or classroom use. It may not be edited, altered, or otherwise modified, except with the express permission of the author, illustrator and Seven Generations Ahead. Published by: Seven Generations Ahead Percival Perkins original concept created and produced by students from the Master’s Program in Learning and Organizational Change at Northwestern University. All rights reserved.

This book is dedicated to all the particular and picky eaters out there.

Table of Contents Percival Perkins 2 Food for Thought 23 Do It Yourself Container Garden 24 Find It Yourself Fresh Foods 27

You are what you eat, so eat something sweet (try a peach!). -Percival Perkins

“Potato Chips?”

Penny Potter, a fifth-grade student, leaned over Percival Perkin’s left shoulder and peered down into his powder blue lunch pail.

“I eat potato chips for lunch on Monday” said Percival. “I see.” said Penny as she walked away pondering to herself that potato chips are probably not the healthiest choice for her pal, Percival.


“Gummy Worms!” proclaimed Penny on Wednesday at noon time, “Percival Perkins that cannot be your entire lunch!” “They taste sour,” explained Percival Perkins, “I like sour.” “I quite understand,” said Penny feeling a little sour herself.

“Are those fruit loops, Percy?” Penny said to Percival the very next day at school, while passing by his packed lunch. “Tuesday I eat fruit loops, but only the purple ones,” said Percival Perkins resolutely. “Of course you do,” Penny muttered as she walked away feeling slightly perturbed.


After lunch, Percival couldn’t sit still during silent reading hour. He pulled Polly Pratt’s pigtails and he poked Pablo with pencils. The sugar from the gummy worms made him so frantic he couldn’t sit still. Worst of all, Percival’s tummy began to ache. “This is positively painful!” Percival pronounced and off to the see the school nurse he went.


After school that same day, Penny Potter began to speak. “There is an old, but wise, expression that says we are what we eat and in that case, Percy, you are a sour gummy worm. Tomorrow I would like to show you a special place designed for particular and picky eaters like you.�

Thursday, Penny leaned over Percival Perkin’s left shoulder and together they peered down into the rows of dark green vegetable planted in the school garden. Fourth grade students were tending to the broccoli, turnips, and romaine and mustard greens. “Spinach,” protested Percival Perkins. Patiently Penny smiled and said, “Yes, spinach, perhaps you didn’t know Percival just a handful a week of spinach or any other dark green vegetable planted in our garden will keep your lungs healthy, make your bones stronger and give you a smarter brain.”

“Pffff.” Percival scoffed and walked away.


Peeking at the orange section of the garden Percival panicked as he saw the carrots and pumpkins. Predicting a particular and picky eater like Percival, Penny posed a question to the student. “Have you ever even tasted a carrot Percival?” He paused, thought for a moment and said, “I positively have not.”


Patiently Penny smiled and said, “Perhaps you should know Percival that just a bowl of these vegetables will help your vision, blood sugar control and also keep your lungs healthy. They also taste really pleasant!� Puzzled Percival pondered the thought that a vegetable might taste good.

Walking home from school that day, Percival pondered Penny’s words. He was sure that he would not want to miss a picnic, but his lips pursed when he thought about eating some of the vegetables Penny pointed out. Pushing open the door upon arriving at home, Percival walked directly towards the fruit bowl perched on the kitchen counter. He observed the colorful purple grapes, yellow bananas and red apples. “Was Penny possibly on point?” Percy pondered out loud. Quickly, Percival pushed the thought out of his mind and went out to play.

As they walked back to Percival’s classroom Penny said, “I would be very pleased to invite you to a very special picnic in the school garden. See you tomorrow and bring the rest of your class. “I’m not sure about this…” said a perplexed Percival Perkins. 15

At lunchtime on Friday, Percival Perkins sat patiently with his classmates at a large table covered with a red checked table cloth ready for a picnic. Penny welcomed the class to sit. She presented two large platters covered with perfectly polished lids. Percival stared at the platters with uncertainty. Penny smiled and removed the lid of the first platter to reveal a rich hearty green spinach salad with crisp white onions and crunchy orange carrots—and a bright assortment of ripe juicy fruit.

Percival was amazed at the rainbow of colors that lay before him, such delicious food that came from his school’s very own garden.

Lifting the second lid, Percival spied a zesty tostada platter with black beans, yellow corn, and fresh red tomatoes. At first, Percival was panicky, afraid to try new foods. He took just one bite.


On the following Monday Percival packed up his powder blue lunch pail filled with plump pieces of vegetables served over brown rice. He placed himself at the lunch table in between pals and Penny Pratt and pronounced publicly “I am presently pondering how passionate I am about eggplant.” Penny Pratt’s ears perked up and responded, Percival, you are no longer a particular and picky eater, I am so proud of you. As his mouth started to water, Penny patted her favorite particular and picky eater on his head feeling perfectly pleased. “Bon Appétit Percival!” The End.


Food For Thought Why is Penny concerned that Percy is eating potato chips for lunch? Why couldn’t Percy sit still during the silent reading hour? What do you think Penny meant when she said “We are what we eat?” Why do you think Percy was nervous about eating the food at the picnic? Why do you think Percy decided to pack his lunch pail with vegetables the week after the picnic?

Taste The Rainbow What color is your favorite fruit or vegetable? What are all the different color fruits and vegetables that you can think of?


Do It Yourself Container Garden You can have a garden and try vegetables like Percival and Penny! Here’s how: 1. Find an adult to help you--pick someone fun! 2. Pick a container to use. Be creative! What do you have sitting around your house? An old bucket? A tub? A teapot? An old toy or baskets? Any of these could work. Even recycled items like a juice box or plastic bottle can be used for a container AND you’ll be helping the environment. Be sure to ask your adult helper about which container you should use. 3. Choose a plant that will work for you and your house. Ask questions like: how much sunshine will it get? And how big is my container? It’s also good to pick a plant that will grow a dwarf or small plant. Turn the page to see a list of some good (container) candidates. 4. Prepare your container. Start by figuring out how the plant will be able to drain excess water when you water it. If the container you’ve chosen doesn’t have any holes, you’ll need to make them with your adult helper. Be careful though, the holes can’t be too big or the soil mixture may come out! If your container does have holes that are big, you might try putting some rocks or newspaper in the bottom.

5. Next fill your container with a potting mix. Most plants need a mix that helps it drain excess water. Sometimes just garden soil is too heavy for container plants. Here’s a couple of options: • 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 shredded peat moss, 1/3 perlite • 1/3 potting soil, 2/3 compost or peat moss 6. Now you’re ready to carefully place your plant or seed in the container. First, use your hand to make a hole for the plant that is a little bigger than the pot it came in. Squeeze the pot a bit around the sides to loosen and then gently take the plant out of the pot. Take a look at the roots on the bottom, how do they look? Wiggle them gently to loosen and then carefully place into your container. Push the soil around your plant to cover and pat gently.

Do It Yourself Container Garden Container Size

Plant Spacing (inches)

Light Needed

Soil Depth (inches)

Beans, Bush

Provider Tender Crop Top Crop


2 to 3




Little MiniBall Early RedBall Little Egypt


2 to 3




Thumbelina Minicor RoyalNantes

Small/ Medium




Lettuce (any variety)



4 to 6

Partial Shade



Royal Nantes



Partial Shade



Single Plant




7. Now give your plant a bit of water and place it in an area with lots of light. 8. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy! You can check by sticking your finger into the soil a little bit and if it’s dry, then you should water. 9. Watch it grow!

Good Container Varieties

Good luck with your garden!

Adult Helpers: Please refer to the National Gardening Association’s for great gardening tip and ideas! We did and their resource rich information is reprinted with permission by, National Gardening Association/ In addition, Colleen Vanderlinden’s 15 Creative Container Garden Ideas was another resource and some of her ideas are reprinted with permission by,



Early Girl Superboy Sun Gold Tiny Tim (dwarf) Patio (dwarf)




Chicago Area Farmers Markets Tuesday

Lincoln Square Farmers Market 4700 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL 60625 Museum of Contemporary Art/Streeterville Farmers Market Chicago Ave. & Mies van der Rohe Way Chicago, IL 60611 Federal Plaza Farmers Market Adams St. & Dearborn St. Chicago, IL 60606 Prudential Plaza Farmers Market Lake St. & Beaubien Court Chicago, IL 60601


Green City Market South end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton Dr. (Summer) Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr. (Winter) 773.880.1266 Lawndale Farmers Market 3555 W. Ogden Ave. Chicago, IL 60623 South Shore Farmers Market 70th & Jeffery Blvd. Chicago, IL 60649



Daley Plaza Farmers Market 50 W. Washington Chicago, IL 60602 Willis Tower Plaza Farmers Market 233 S Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60606


Green City Market South end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton Dr. (Summer) Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr. (Winter) 773.880.1266 Austin Farmers Market Madison St. & Central Ave. Chicago, IL 60644 Bridgeport Farmers Market 35th & Wallace Chicago, IL 60616 Division Street Farmers Market 50 W. Division St. Chicago, IL 60610 Lincoln Park Farmers Market Armitage Ave. & Orchard St. Chicago, IL 60647

Northcenter Farmers Market 4100 N. Damen Chicago, IL 60618 Printers Row Farmers Market Dearborn & Polk Chicago, IL 60605 Southport Farmers Market 1420 W. Grace St. Chicago, IL 60657 61st Street Farmers Market 6100 S. Blackstone Chicago, IL 60637 773. 241.604

All Week

Chicago’s Farm Stand 66 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 606002

For more information you can go to:


Beverly Farmers Market 9500 S. Longwood Dr. Chicago, IL 60643 Erie Street Farmers Market 500 W. Erie St. Chicago, IL 60654 Wicker Park and Bucktown Farmers Market 1500 N. Damen Ave. Chicago, IL 60622 Pilsen Community Market 1800 S. Halstead Chicago, IL 60608 http://www.pilsencommunitymarket. org/




Chicago Area Organization Resources The Good Food Project Please Visit Website Susan Taylor, Executive Director The Good Food Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “introduce children to the exquisite flavors of the earth’s bounty and to help them develop a lifelong love of good food.”

Common Threads

Chicago Botanic Garden

Healthy Schools Campaign

Common Threads educates children on the importance of nutrition and well-being, while fostering an appreciation cultural diversity through cooking and shared meals.

Eliza Fournier, Community Gardening Manager

Healthy Schools Campaign advocates for policies and practices that allow students, teachers and staff to learn and work in a healthy school environment. 312.752.2690 500 N. Dearborn, Suite 530 Chicago, IL 60654



Purple Asparagus

Jaime Zaplatosch, Education Coordinator

Melissa Graham, President Purple Asparagus is a non-profit organization dedicated to “bringing families back to the table”, through a variety of programs such as Healthy Snacks in Schools, Family Dinners and additional programs to promote healthy family meal practices. 773.991.1920 1824 W. Newport Ave. Chicago, IL 60657

Openlands offers a wide range of educational and consultation services for those involved with school and community gardening. 25 E. Washington St. Suite 1650 Chicago, IL 60602 312.863.6270 Edible Garden at Lincoln Park Zoo

The Chicago Botanic Garden provides school and community garden consultation; gardens open to school trips as well as hands-on educational opportunities.

175 N. Franklin, Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60606 312.419.1810

E Lake Cook Rd Glencoe, Illinois 60022 847.835.5440

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

412 S. Peoria, Suite 400 Chicago, IL 60607-7067 312.996.8700

The Nature Museum offers a wide variety of hands-on exhibits that educate guests on the Illinois natural environment. Environmental and gardening education resources can be found in the museum’s library and resource room. 2430 North Cannon Drive Chicago, IL 60614 773.755.5100

Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion

Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) 2300 Children’s Plaza Box #157 Chicago, IL 60614 312-573-7760 Slow Food Chicago

Jeanne Pinsof Nolan

Contact by Website and Email

The Edible Garden at the Lincoln Park Zoo offers a hands-on gardening and harvesting experience for students, and is an example of the plethora of fresh foods an urban garden can produce.

Slow Food Chicago an educational nonprofit that seeks to create dramatic and lasting change in our local food system to ensure equity, sustainability, and pleasure in the food we eat. 2001 N Clark St Chicago, IL 60614 847.636.2720 29


About Seven Generations Ahead Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to build ecologically sustainable and healthy communities. SGA advocates for proactive, local community solutions to global environmental issues by working to promote clean, renewable energy; eco-effective materials and products; intelligent, sustainable building design; and fresh, local food raised using ecologically safe and healthy practices. This book is specifically designed to complement SGA’s Fresh from the Farm curriculum and program activities working with children in the classroom and on the farm to teach them about nature’s growing cycles, organic cultivation, and the health benefits of specific fruits and vegetables. Additionally, it aims at educating children about what it’s like to be a farmer, and the emotional, academic, and physical health benefits of living a healthy eating lifestyle.

About Northwestern University’s MSLOC Program The Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change (MSLOC) program at Northwestern University is designed to strengthen the ability of experienced working professionals to use innovative people management and learning practices to lead strategic and sustainable organizational change. This book was developed for SGA as part of an MSLOC course designed to introduce students to concepts applicable to leading change. As part of the course, student teams were challenged to generate ideas to support the Illinois Local Food, Farms & Jobs Act (enacted August 18, 2009). Teams were specifically directed to focus on the needs, expectations and desires of school leaders, parents and their communities within the spirit of The Act. One MSLOC team proposed, conceived and developed this children’s book to reinforce SGA’s Fresh from the Farm curriculum.

Fresh from the Farm offers: • 8-10 week curriculum modules incorporating nutrition and healthy eating, local, earth-friendly agriculture, food origins, local fresh fruit and vegetable tastings, and experiencing food with the five senses. • Tours of local organic farms with structured curriculum activities. Participating farms include the Green Earth Institute, Prairie Crossing Learning Farm, Angelic Organics, Growing Power and Genesis Growers. • “Meet the Farmer” classroom visits highlighting how food is grown, building healthy soil, raising food in earth-friendly ways, and the farmer’s life. • Local Chef Cooking Demonstrations that show students ways to prepare healthy foods and their nutritional qualities. • School-based organic garden development. • Parent education.

For more information: The MSLOC team would like to extend heartfelt thank you to: Our Foundations Coach: Kevin Murnane Our Sponsor: Gary Cuneen, Seven Generations Ahead Foundations Panelists: Jim Braun, Illinois Farmer-Consumer Coalition and Debbie Hillman, Founder of the Evanston Food Policy Council And: Chelsea Brink, Shannah Dieckmann, Tracey E. Dils, Jeffrey Merrell, Dr. Kemia Sarraf, John Sessler, Kimberly Scott, Arlene Schneider, Courtney Thomas, Melissa Tobias And too: The third graders who gave us helpful feedback and enjoyed our book!

For more information: The MSLOC student team is: Katherine Beauchamp, Brad Becker, Jeanne Ebersole, Mariana Vasques, Loren Rozakos, Rebecca Schneider, Vikash Shah and Rashaun Sourles



Meet Percival Perkins: The Particular and Picky Eater who learns from his good friend, Penny, how perfectly wonderful eating fresh garden food can be! Parents and Teachers: This book includes Reflection Questions, A Do-It-Yourself Container Garden Activity and Resource Guide

Percival Perkins  
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