An affectionate, mouthwatering tale.

IT'S A MUFFULETTA! IT'S A WHATA?

Based on a true story, this illustrated children’s book explains the origin of a signature sandwich.

After leaving Palermo, Sicily, Signor Salvatore Lupo comes to New Orleans in 1906. He plans to open a grocery shop stocked with delicacies such as pasta, salami, and more, catering to immigrants like him who miss the taste of home. Nearby, another Sicilian opens a bakery for Italian-style breads, which Salvatore stocks in his shop as part of the lunchtime spread. Though Salvatore’s shop is popular, it’s also small, and some customers have to eat standing up. The traditional style is to have a plate with lots of separate items like cheese, salami, olives, bread, and more, because “Sicilians only ate one thing at a time.” But crowded people and small plates lead to a lot of spills, so Salvatore has a brilliant nontraditional idea: make an olive salad and pile it with salami, ham, and Swiss cheese onto a crusty Italian loaf. Unfortunately, customers complain that the resulting sandwich is too hard to chew until Salvatore has another great notion—use soft muffuletta bread instead. The dish is a huge hit and is still a New Orleans specialty. In her second children’s book, Saunders tells a lively story full of energetic exclamations like “Mamma Mia!” and “kurplunk!” The tale celebrates immigrant ingenuity and the birth of new traditions that still honor one’s roots. Salvatore’s accent could be considered stereotypical, as in “How abouta everything goes on to the breada?” But it’s in the context of respecting his achievements. The work includes recipes for olive salad and muffuletta bread as well as background information about Salvatore and how Saunders came to write the book. The author’s watercolor and ink illustrations, which depict a light-skinned cast, are amusing, gently colored, and sprightly.

An affectionate, mouthwatering tale. (bibliography)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-950169-32-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Spork

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2020

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It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous...

ROSA PARKS

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

A first introduction to the iconic civil rights activist.

“She was very little and very brave, and she always tried to do what was right.” Without many names or any dates, Kaiser traces Parks’ life and career from childhood to later fights for “fair schools, jobs, and houses for black people” as well as “voting rights, women’s rights and the rights of people in prison.” Though her refusal to change seats and the ensuing bus boycott are misleadingly presented as spontaneous acts of protest, young readers will come away with a clear picture of her worth as a role model. Though recognizable thanks to the large wire-rimmed glasses Parks sports from the outset as she marches confidently through Antelo’s stylized illustrations, she looks childlike throughout (as characteristic of this series), and her skin is unrealistically darkened to match the most common shade visible on other African-American figures. In her co-published Emmeline Pankhurst (illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo), Kaiser likewise simplistically implies that Great Britain led the way in granting universal women’s suffrage but highlights her subject’s courageous quest for justice, and Isabel Sánchez Vegara caps her profile of Audrey Hepburn (illustrated by Amaia Arrazola) with the moot but laudable claim that “helping people across the globe” (all of whom in the pictures are dark-skinned children) made Hepburn “happier than acting or dancing ever had.” All three titles end with photographs and timelines over more-detailed recaps plus at least one lead to further information.

It’s a bit sketchy of historical detail, but it’s coherent, inspirational, and engaging without indulging in rapturous flights of hyperbole. (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-018-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Readers will salivate over this scrumptious and inspiring picture-book biography.

BORN HUNGRY

JULIA CHILD BECOMES "THE FRENCH CHEF"

Julia “The French Chef” Child’s fascinating life, lovingly remembered by her grandnephew.

She stood 6 feet, 2 inches tall and wore size 12 shoes. In other words, Julia Child, nee McWilliams, was hard to miss. During World War II, she worked for the Office of Strategic Services, met her husband, and cooked shark-repellent cakes that protected Allied naval officers working in shark-infested waters. Later, while living in Paris, Julia discovered French food, and the rest is history. Prud’homme successfully drills home the fact that Child did not start out as a great cook but rather came into her talent through hard work and pure doggedness. The book’s unabashed celebration of Child’s love of food and of her pure hunger for knowledge about cooking is joyous. Ample backmatter takes a slightly more in-depth dive into Julia’s life and includes lists of pertinent books, TV shows, podcasts, websites, and exhibits. Caregivers conscious about instilling healthy eating habits in children may appreciate the appended recipe for oeufs brouillés (scrambled eggs), refreshingly different from the sweet snacks that usually constitute picture-book recipes. The colorful digital illustrations work in perfect tandem with the text, lavishly depicting the foods that seduced Child toward a life of cooking. By the story’s end, there is no mystery left as to what made her beloved by so many around the world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Readers will salivate over this scrumptious and inspiring picture-book biography. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture-book biography. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63592-323-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Astra Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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