A darkly comical guide to dishing up royalty, from a black-magic Julia Child.
“Gingrich the witch is famous for her recipes,” and her cookbook shows crones and stepfamilies alike how to turn “a pesky princess” into a meal. It starts with a typical wicked witch setting: “a house made of chocolate” tucked away in “the darkest corner of the woods.” A wordless double-page spread of Gingrich’s cookbook with a few well-chosen ingredients nearby precedes information about kitchen utensils and the best traps to procure the main ingredient. Next come the recipes, which include the Cinderella burger, Rapunzel salad, and a nice Snow White stew. For young fans of the macabre, perhaps with an aversion to Disney princesses, the unsettling, dark, blocky illustrations will provide gruesome glee. The drawings are perfectly unappetizing, as they imagine a witch’s palate, and are the most enjoyable aspect of the book. The length of this picture book and the density of text makes for a tricky read-aloud, which, combined with the subject matter, could limit the audience to older readers. The original Spanish may have more artistry in the writing, while the translated text is often clunky or unnecessarily verbose if not without the occasional delicious bon mot (“The Little Red Riding Hoods are an excellent game meat”).
If this book were a dish it might be described as good meat with too many trimmings. (Picture book. 6-9)