Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bon Appetit: The Delicious Life of Julia Child

Hartland, Jessie. 2012. BON APPETIT: THE DELICIOUS LIFE OF JULIA CHILD. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books. ISBN 9780375869440 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-5]

She learned to cook in Paris, wrote a bestselling French cookbook, created a beloved television show, and changed the way Americans eat.  “How did a gangly girl from Pasadena do it? This is her story.”

Jessie Hartland tells the inspiring story of Julia Child in this delightful picture book biography. She describes Julia’s childhood as a prankster and tomboy to a tall, awkward teen with “VERY big feet.” Julia later meets and marries Paul Child and moves to Paris; she falls in love with French food and begins cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. After graduation, she begins work on a cookbook that will clearly explain French techniques to American cooks. The book is met with rave reviews and leads to a cooking show “on a rather new medium called television.” Julia goes on to teach and inspire millions to cook.

The life story is told in a charming graphic format using a handwritten-style font and simple, colorful illustrations. Hartland accentuates Julia’s personality in this lively tribute to the beloved chef who “bubbled over with effervescence.” Humorous details about her life add interest to the tale.       

Food is a natural extension.  Children can discuss their favorites and create their own cookbooks.  They can explore more about French cooking and even sample the crêpe recipe at the back of the book. Children can map the many places Julia lived around the world and learn more about each location.  Readers can also tell their own life story in Hartland’s graphic style. 

Additional biographies about inspiring ladies:
Cardillo, Margaret. JUST BEING AUDREY. ISBN 9780061852831
Corey, Shana. HERE COME THE GIRL SCOUTS. ISBN 9780545342780

By Jill Bellomy

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