Reich lures children into the scrumptious Parisian world of the legendary chef Julia Child with the story of her mouse-loving cat, Minette.
It’s a funny thought: The now-famous American gourmet painstakingly prepares duck pâtés and cheese soufflés with the freshest French ingredients when all her cat really wants to eat is raw mouse: “How delightful the crunch of fresh-caught mouse, devoured on the living room rug!” Even if readers have never heard of Julia Child or the delightful interlude she and her husband Paul shared in Paris in the late 1940s, the joy of an enthusiastic food-lover in the kitchen is palpable: “She floured and flipped, pitted and plucked, rinsed and roasted, sizzled and skimmed.” Bates’ inventively composed kitchen- and marketscapes in warm watercolors and pencil capture this joy as well, as readers see the very-tall, very-cheerful cook in action. The atmospheric narrative is festive, fresh and festooned with quotations from Julia and Paul’s letters, as well as from Child's memoir, My Life in France (2006). As revealed in the afterword, Minette Mimosa McWilliams Child was an actual adopted tortoiseshell cat, the first of many cats for the loving couple.
A fine recipe for pleasure: Julia Child, the culinary arts, Paris and a lucky cat. Magnifique! (afterword, notes, sources, glossary and pronunciation guide, author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)