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POPCORN AT THE PALACE by Emily Arnold McCully


by Emily Arnold McCully & illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-15-277699-0
Publisher: Harcourt

 McCully (Starring Mirette and Bellini, p. 559) bases this tale on a piece of history from her own hometown, Galesburg, Illinois, and one of its innovative founders, Olmsted Ferris, who experimented with unusual crops. When Olmsted learned that popcorn was unknown in Europe, he took a shipment of it to London and obtained an audience with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to demonstrate this wonder. Victoria gave Olmsted a doll for his young daughter, which was passed down through the family for generations. McCully fleshes out this historical account and tells it from the perspective of Olmsted's daughter (here called Maisie), imagining that the idea of exporting popcorn originated with her and having her accompany her father to London and to Victoria's court. The Ferrises are portrayed as energetic non-conformists, looked at askance by their staid neighbors before their trip to England, and lionized upon their return. What readers will remember is the pioneer spirit behind this appealing tale and a spunky girlreal or notat its center. (Picture book. 5-8)