How do you make a biography about Julia Child more accessible to children? Tell it from the point of view of her cat! Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat by Susanna Reich and illustrated by Amy Bates is a warm, delightful telling of iconic chef Julia Child’s adventures learning to cook in Paris.
I should make a disclosure right up front: Our family has three cats. I come from a long line of cat people. We are severely biased towards cats. This may have colored my extreme enjoyment of this book.
Minette was real cat who was Julia Child’s pet when she lived in Paris. In the Afterword there is a lovely black-and-white photograph of Julia with petite Minette looking wild-eyed on her lap. The photograph was taken by Julia’s husband, Paul.
Children are likely to relate to the fact that Minette is not as impressed with fancy cooking as the adult humans seem to be. She is more interested in plain fare (mice and birds) and playing. In the end, however, she becomes a convert, perhaps because Julia’s skills as a cook have improved with all the lessons.
This book is full of treats for the reader. One of the treats is the actual dialogue from Julia and Paul Child’s letters, giving us the flavor of their characters. Another treat is the glimpse of life in France and the smattering of French words sprinkled throughout. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are also treats, as they give the ambience of Paris during the late 1940’s, and yet also imply the motion and zest of larger-than-life Julia Child. C’est magnifique!
Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat is sure to give readers the warm fuzzies. The beauty is that you don’t need to be a cat lover or a foodie or a Francophile to enjoy this book, but if you are any of those then you will definitely want a copy of your very own.
Jama’s Alphabet Soup has an interview with the author and illustrator, recipes and much more
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers (May 1, 2012)
See what Susanna Reich has to say about writing children’s books and Minette’s Feast:
Book was provided by publisher for review purposes.
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This week’s round-up is at Books Together.