Not so much a history of food as history with food—a way of adding a bit of spice to general studies of the past.




A tempting tasting platter of foods and eating customs in diverse times and places.

As there are no actual menus and but one informal recipe, these introductions to 16 historical figures (10 of whom are white Europeans or Americans) are more quick snacks than sustained repasts for dedicated foodies. Still, they do convey a sense of where select foods originated and how they traveled—around the world and also beyond. Speaking for themselves, Cleopatra and Sacagawea, Moctezuma, Hokusai, Martin Luther King Jr., Babe Ruth, Neil Armstrong, and the rest summarize their general accomplishments alongside parallel but somewhat more food-oriented third-person commentary and a colorful caricature of the subject usually, but not invariably, at table. Along with observations that Cleopatra would have been served stork, that Napoleon was a messy eater, and like tidbits, readers will come away with some significant morsels of history, such as the role Columbus played in introducing avocados, corn, and beans to Europe and oranges, coffee, and sugar cane to North and South America. Along with a generous dollop of further reading (for adults), the final section dishes up more detail about each of the distinguished diners plus a timeline strewn with factual croutons, from the publication of the first printed cookbook (1465) to the introduction of Lunchables.

Not so much a history of food as history with food—a way of adding a bit of spice to general studies of the past. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-88448-468-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Long before Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching,” Fabre proved it so.



The rewards of simply taking time to bend down for a closer look are celebrated in this tribute to the great French entomologist.

Seeing as a lad that “every patch of dirt and tangle of weeds buzzed with insects: dazzling beetles, ferocious wasps, sweet-singing crickets, and more,” young Fabre went on to devote a long life to watching common insects rather than just collecting dead specimens as most of his contemporary colleagues did. The distinctive, enduring affection with which he regarded his diminutive subjects regardless of their often savage behavior comes through clearly here, both in Smith’s warm narrative and Ferri’s equally engaging views of the naturalist. He delightedly discovers a shimmering hoplia beetle beneath a leaf, smiles from his sickbed as a handful of hibernating bees revives after his son carries them indoors, and is wonderstruck by an account of how Cerceris wasps paralyze beetles as live food for offspring. (The illustrator has a little fun with viewers by adding a looming insectile shadow as well as close-up views of hovering wasps in this last scene.) Fabre’s many original discoveries and insights won him renown, and though he is largely unknown to nonspecialists today, his nose-to-nose approach to the natural world is well worth commemorating to modern readers.

Long before Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching,” Fabre proved it so. (historical note, timeline, author’s note, annotated source list) (Picture book/biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4778-2632-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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Readers who have just discovered Anne Shirley of Green Gables and are wondering where she came from will find at least the beginnings of an answer in this fresh, frank picture-book biography. Montgomery comes across as a generous spirit, with both an independent streak and a strong sense of duty. MacLeod sketches both her public and private lives, pointing out real people, places, or incidents that appeared later in her books. She quotes income figures ($12,000 in 1914: as much as the Canadian Prime Minister) and describes, among other details, her youthful infatuation for one man, her secret engagement to another, and, years later, her long struggle to keep her husband's mental illness a secret. On every spread, montages of contemporary photos, portraits, book covers, quotes, memorabilia, manuscript pages, reviews, and film stills add a visual backdrop to this engaging glimpse of Canada's most famous author. A sketched figure of Maud points to important opinions or pieces of information. Montgomery's other books get a glance too, and there is a complete list at the end, along with lists of sites to visit, both in Canada and on the Web. A terrific format for an appealing subject. (index) (Biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-55074-487-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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