The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Catby?Susanna Reich, ill by?Amy Bates
Although I’m a big fan of Chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, Cupcake Wars, etc., I do not actually like to cook. So I knew next to nothing about Julia Child, other than having seen her kitchen at the Smithsonian with writer friend Kelly Fineman!?However, based on blogger Jama Rattigan’s undying love for food and the woman, I proposed a biography poem about Child to an assessment company I’m writing for. One of the books I read for my research was Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat.
And I loved it. This is the story of Julia Child’s cooking journey told through the eyes of her cat, Minette–the best-fed kitty in Paris! Kids will love Minette’s adventures and her singular focus on her favorite feast–mouse. And meanwhile, they will learn about Julia Child and the magical food she created.
Julia spent mornings at the marketplace, buying meat from le boucher, bread from le boulanger, milk and cheese from la cremiere, and cake from le patissier.
Afterward, she’d make a splendid lunch for herself and Paul, and offer Minette the leftovers.
Minette might even take a nibble.
But of course, mouse and bird were much preferred.
Reich has fun with language in this book, with a pinch of rhyme, a’dash of alliteration, and a gallon of good words, all mixed up to make a delicious book. It’s a great introduction for kids who have never heard of Julia Child.
Extension activities for Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat:
- Get cooking! Arrange a class field trip to the cafeteria and make something. Perhaps pain perdu (French for French toast). Julia Child was most famous for her French cookbook, so fixing something with French flare would be fun.
- Write like a cat. Have your students pretend to be cats. After some meowing and strutting, brainstorm what a cat would think about their daily lives. What would a cat have to say about: breakfast? the school bus? school? computer lab? baseball practice? piano practice? bedtime stories? Individually or as a class, write a story or poem from a cat’s point of view about a kid’s life.
- Pair it up. Pick another picture book to pair this with. For the cat angle, you can’t go wrong with Lee Wardlaw’s fantastic Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. To learn more about Julia Child, check out Jessie Hartland’s picture book biography, Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child.
Anastasia Suen herself at Booktalking has the Nonfiction Monday roundup! Go learn something cool!
[review copy of Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat
provided by my local library]