Blackberry fool is a fine dessert indeed, and people have been making it for centuries.
Readers learn from the historical note that the name probably comes from the French fouler and means “smushed up” rather than a silly thing. Blackall’s illustrations are as graceful and historically accurate as she can make them, as she and Jenkins take readers to 1710 Lyme, England, where a mother and daughter pick wild blackberries; 1810 Charleston, South Carolina, where an enslaved mother and daughter pick them in the plantation garden; 1910 Boston, where a mother and daughter buy their berries at the market; and finally 2010 San Diego, where a boy and his dad use store-bought berries, an Internet recipe and organic cream. Jenkins tells the story of each family’s preparation, and alert children will delight in the different tools and methods used to whip the cream, strain the berries and keep the dessert cold. But everyone licks the bowl clean in the end. Blackall even incorporates blackberry juice as one of her “paints," using it to color the endpapers. The homes and families are wildly different, which makes their shared delight in this simple, ancient sweet all the more compelling. The notes from the illustrator and the historical notes will warm the cockles of teachers’, librarians’ and parents’ hearts. A complete recipe is included too, so readers can run right out and make it for their own families.
There is no other word but delicious. (Picture book. 5-9)