Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2015 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
My reputation for being a nonfiction picture book hoarder is such that my coworkers now put aside interesting books for me – I love working in a library!
It’s been a crazy busy week, with some great events coming up that I’m hoping to talk about soon, so I’ve only got a single book to to share. Here it is!
Title: Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child
Author/Illustrator: Jessie Hartland
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
Publication Date: 2012
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Picture Book
Publisher’s Summary: Follow Julia Child—chef, author, and television personality—from her childhood in Pasadena, California, to her life as a spy in WWII, to the cooking classes she took in Paris, to the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to the funny moments of being a chef on TV. This is a comprehensive and enchanting picture book biography, told in many panels and jam-packed with lively, humorous, and child-friendly details. Young chefs and Julia Child fans will exclaim, “ooooh la la,” about this book, which is as energetic and eccentric as the chef herself.
My Two Cents: I have to admit I didn’t know that much about Julia Child before picking up this picture book – I knew her mostly as a very tall TV show host and cook book author. I was in for a delicious surprise – Julia Child was quite a force to be reckoned with, and this unique, madcap picture book biography captures her incredible life in energetic detail. What really inspired me about Child was her dogged determination, and her refusal to let life’s disappointments get her down. The publication of Child’s classic guide to French cooking took years, as Child and her co-authors received rejection after rejection after rejection. Still, they remained undaunted, dedicated to bringing their dream book to life. Picture books about inspiring, trail-blazing women are perfect for both girls and boys – anyone can be inspired by the story of an innovative individual.
The style of this picture book is perhaps best described as unique – the text is designed to look handwritten, as if it came from the pages of a diary, which adds charm and whimsy to the story, but which can at times be hard to decipher. The illustrations have an almost child-like quality about them, simple and striking, and filling almost every inch of the page. This is a picture book that just might appeal more to adults than to children. The hard-to-read text and crowded, jumbled pages could be overwhelming or off-putting for younger audiences, but for teens and particularly for adults, this break from picture book conventions is quite nice! I suddenly have this strange desire to try my hand at making a souffle….