While these stories may be familiar to adult readers, they are here perfectly pitched to introduce the determined woman who...

BON APPÉTIT

THE DELICIOUS LIFE OF JULIA CHILD

A homey biography introduces children to Julia Child.

Julia Child’s imposing but unglamorous figure and rumbly voiced television presence charmed cooks and eaters alike, even as her cookbooks changed kitchen dynamics in many American households. Hartland uses a naive cartoon storytelling style—several scenes on a page, accompanied by an energetic handwritten, partly cursive text—to recount her journey to success as a renowned cook. Lively tableaux deliver an affectionate tribute to this strong-minded woman. Scenes from Julia’s tomboy childhood include mention of Julia’s large feet and the three foods her mother would make on cook’s night off: biscuits, codfish balls and Welsh rabbit. The book moves onto her brief career with the OSS, her marriage to Paul Child (and their mutual interest in food) and their move to Paris. From Julia’s education at Le Cordon Bleu and her subsequent success in producing cookbooks, it’s clear that Julia succeeded through her attention to detail and her luck in matching passion for food with her ability to cook it expertly. The 37 steps in Julia’s preparation of a galantine for her sister “Dort the Wort” are amusingly detailed, and though readers are not told whether Dorothy was impressed, the anecdote is telling.

While these stories may be familiar to adult readers, they are here perfectly pitched to introduce the determined woman who became synonymous with French cooking in America.   (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-11)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86944-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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MY HAVANA

MEMORIES OF A CUBAN BOYHOOD

Mirroring the career he eventually entered, architect Fernandez builds up, like one of Havana’s ornate structures, memories of childhood in his pre- and post-Castro hometown. A gifted illustrator, he drew constantly, easily rendering even minute architectural details. Before emigrating to New York City, young “Dino” and his family moved first to Madrid to assist relatives. Discovering a dictatorship that wasn’t much different from the one they’d left in Cuba, the family returned home and then finally moved to the United States. Havana was never far from his mind, and art brought solace. So homesick was Dino in Manhattan that he actually “built” a cardboard replica of Havana that captured the colors and warmth he remembered. This fictionalized memoir is for the contemplative reader and anyone who has felt out of place or yearned for a beloved home; it could serve as a catalyst for creative expression. Wells has chosen anecdotes wisely, and Ferguson’s illustrations are atmospheric, capturing Dino’s childlike enthusiasm and longing. An author’s note reveals how Wells came to know of and be inspired by Fernandez’s story. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4305-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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