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A Feast of Freedom: Tasty Tidbits from City Tavern
     

A Feast of Freedom: Tasty Tidbits from City Tavern

by Walter Staib, Jennifer Fox, Fernando Juarez (Illustrator)
 

Next to the Liberty Bell and the Rocky Statue, the City Tavern is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia. This informative picture book, told from the point of view of a mischievous mouse, is designed to allow readers a behind-the-scene-look at the history surrounding this important American landmark.

Readers will get a glimpse of what it

Overview


Next to the Liberty Bell and the Rocky Statue, the City Tavern is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia. This informative picture book, told from the point of view of a mischievous mouse, is designed to allow readers a behind-the-scene-look at the history surrounding this important American landmark.

Readers will get a glimpse of what it was like to go out to dinner in the 18th century, when meals included dancing, merriment, and twenty different dishes! From the celebration of the first official Independence Day to the post-Constitutional Convention, the Tavern has hosted of many of America’s biggest celebrations. Over the centuries many famous diners have had a meal at City Tavern including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and various other political leaders.

A recipe for the Tavern’s authentic corn bread, as well as a timeline of the important events surrounding the City Tavern’s rich past are included.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A who’s who of patriots partied, dined, and plotted at Philadelphia’s City Tavern—it was the most happening place of the Revolutionary War era. Staib, the current chef, and Fox work diligently to make the most of this unusual window into American history, but they aren’t the most artful of historical popularizers (“Coffee wasn’t the only thing causing a stir by the late eighteenth century”); their prose shifts between several different voices—pedagogic, irreverent, romantic. Juarez fares far better. His images, mostly full-page paintings, tip a tricornered hat to (and sometimes lovingly spoof) the work of Gilbert Stuart and other colonial era artists. But he also adds a distinctly modern sculptural element (he’s worked as a 3-D animator) to the compositions; this gives the lighting and sense of space in each scene an intriguing depth, which in turn heightens the drama and intimacy of the action. The book throws in a mischievous mouse character to act as a reader surrogate among all the bewigged and waistcoat-wearing 18th-century celebrities, but it’s an unnecessary touch. Ages 4-8. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—The City Tavern, a pedigreed Philadelphia institution, bore witness to much of the behind-the-scenes wrangling and politicking of a country on the verge of independence. When all those intense and heady days at Carpenters' Hall and the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) came to a close, it was to the City Tavern that people headed to eat, drink, gossip, and hash things over. This book's initial, chronological spreads cover the building's conception, the basic floor plans, the importance of its location to both trade and politics, and how people ate, partied, did business, and kept up with the news in the late 1700s. Later spreads describe the building's historical connections. Paul Revere's ride, both Continental Congresses, the Declaration of Independence, Washington's meeting with Lafayette, the first Independence Day, and the writing of the Constitution are a few of the commemorated events. Closing pages include a recipe for corn bread, a time line, and an update on the City Tavern as it now stands. A Disneyesque mouse in a tricornered hat leads readers through the pages, adding a touch of humor with brief quips in speech bubbles. The figures in the full-color illustrations are slightly out of focus, as if viewed through a long lens. The text is set on one side of each spread, often on a parchmentlike background. The map on the endpapers locates the City Tavern in old Philadelphia, and a foreword provides context. Add this title for a fresh look at a requisite time in U.S. history.—Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI
Kirkus Reviews
The chef of Philadelphia's City Tavern-a modern replica of a Revolutionary War-era public house frequented by many of the Founding Fathers-serves up a bland broth of historical highlights, from the Tavern's opening in 1773 and its role as the First Continental Congress's "main hangout" to a grand pre-inauguration fete given to George Washington in 1789. The local angle gives this quick overview of our country's first years of independence some value, but the territory has been thoroughly scouted already, and the narrative is constructed more from broad generalizations and doubtful claims (considering the state of food storage in the 18th century, it's unlikely that the tavern served "stews and meat pies from England" for instance) than colorful particulars. Juarez plants plenty of familiar faces into his period scenes of (rather decorous) revelry, but he also strains for child appeal by adding a shiny-eyed mouse in a tricorn hat as a sort of tour guide/commentator. Most disappointingly, there's not much about food here, though a closing recipe for "Old-Fashioned Corn Bread" helps to remedy the lack. Needs more flavor. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762435982
Publisher:
Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
05/11/2010
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.78(w) x 11.08(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


Walter Staib is a renowned chef, who has won many prestigious awards including the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole de la République Française. He is the author of multiple cookbooks, his most recent being The City Tavern Cookbook, and he also stars in the corresponding CN8 television show, World Cuisine of the Black Forest.

Fernando Juarez has illustrated several picture books for various Spanish publishers. He is also one of the contributing animators for Planet 51 the new 3-D movie coming out from Sony pictures in November, 2009. He lives with his wife and three children in Spain.

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