Friday, November 15, 2013

Sammie & Sax in the Land of Quinoa by Sheila Kemper Dietrich and Illustrated by Timothy Foss

Last night at dinner we were mired in our usual power struggle with my picky six-year-old daughter. My husband had made stuffed peppers. It was the perfect combination of whole grains, vegetables, and protein. They were topped with some delicious Parmigiano-Reggiano. My daughter wanted more cheese to smother on her green pepper. We told her that she had plenty of cheese on her plate.

She countered that cheese was healthy.
We fought back stating that although cheese is healthy, too much cheese is not good for you.
I was about to tell her Paracelsus's principle of toxicology: The dose makes the poison. However, I decided instead to read the book Sammie and Sax in the Land of Quinoa: the Search for a Balanced Meal that night at bedtime.

A week earlier, I had been attending a conference for work, totally unrelated to children's literature, and I came across the Livliga booth at the Expo. This is where I met the dynamic and inspiring Sheila Kemper Dietrich, the author of the book and creator of livliga.

Imagine working as the director of the American Heart Association in Denver, witnessing first hand the consequences of the "super-sized" lifestyle, and then being brave enough to leave your job to work towards fixing the problem. I was truly inspired by not only her creativity, but also actually doing what so many of us just talk about doing- making change. The change she created were several lines of dishes that are designed with size proportion labels to help control the amount of food being consumed at the dinner table. However, unlike many portion control plates I have seen in the store, these are soothing and aesthetically pleasing.  I think what I loved the most about her story, when I was talking to her, was that she lost over 50 pounds herself learning to eat more balanced meals.

One of her product lines is Kidliga, which features a children's book and coordinating porcelain place settings to promote eating balanced meals for kids. I purchased the book and was thrilled to have Ms. Sheila sign it!

The story features Sammie, Sax, and their dog Rhubarb as they travel to the Land of Quinoa in search of a balanced meal. As the kids embark on their journey, they find fruits, vegetables, and other foods along the way that try to help them figure out how to make a balanced meal. The foods are all ingeniously drawn as puzzle pieces, so by the end of the book you have a completed puzzle: the balanced meal. The story is engaging and well written. Most importantly, it didn't feel like I was reading a book that was telling my kids what to eat, but instead just felt like a creative children's book I was sharing with them. What is even better is that there are recipes at the end of the book for the healthy meal the children discovered.

I highly recommend picking up this book. I am slightly annoyed with myself for not purchasing the gorgeous place settings at the conference. The bowl and mug that go with the plate are simply beautiful, and I love that they are made of porcelain and not plastic or melamine. I am going to be putting these dishes on my Christmas wish list! I hope Santa is taking notes.

Here is where you can purchase the book and the coordinating place settings:


  1. Thanks for the information on this great book and place settings! I too have struggled with ways to encourage my children to try new and healthy foods. I am interested in this book since it includes recipes at the end. Let me know of any other great ideas you find regarding healthy meal times. :)

    1. I will definitely let you know if I come across any other great ideas. The book is a great tool to open the discussion with kids about eating healthy.

  2. Haha! I don't like stuffed peppers and love cheese, so I sympathize with your daughter. :) But yes, kids have to be encouraged to eat healthily and it's a continual struggle that's important. We have discussions about butter amounts etc. too! Sounds like a cute book.

    1. If I am honest with myself, I don't think I liked stuffed peppers as a child. I need to have an honest discussion with myself about coffee and creamer consumption. ;-)

  3. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and to foster awareness and help make a difference, Livliga, elegant portion control, will be donating 10% of all its Kidliga sales in September to Action for Healthy Kids, a national nonprofit that makes schools healthier places so kids can live healthier lives. In addition, all orders that include Kidliga will receive FREE SHIPPING and a new Sammie and Sax's ebooklet! Help Kids Live Healthier Lives and Join the Fun! Go to to get started!

  4. I love the idea of this but why are they made in China? Couldn't someone in the U.S.A. have made these in their shop? Please keep the jobs in the U.S.A.

  5. Thank you for checking out Sammie and Sax. We believe in developing, creating and using USA companies as much as possible when producing our Livliga products. We actually used a state-side company as publisher. In reality it is not always possible to manufacture product in the USA for a variety of reasons from availability of factories, skills and pricing. Whenever possible we do and we will.


I would love to hear your thoughts.

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