Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Fine Dessert, by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall

I love a great picture book, and while I don't normally review them here, I wanted to call this one out.  A Fine Dessert is the story of one dessert (blackberry fool) and its preparation over four centuries, highlighting changes in technology and social mores over the period.  From an English manor in Lyme 1710, to a southern plantation in Charleston 1810, to an urban home in Boston 1910, to the modern family in San Diego 2010, we see the exact some events played out in a dramatically different fashion.

As she so effortlessly does, Emily Jenkins subtly introduces critical ideas about the role of slavery and sexism in the face of a delightful story about the eternal joy of family and food.  The book is not preachy, but rather opens the door for whatever level of discussion a parent and child wish to have about these subjects.  And the wonderful circularity of the story and its illustrations will appeal to young readers.

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