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Sometimes, as this lively picture book proves, truth is stranger than fiction. At the time of Jefferson's presidency, the folks in Cheshire, Massachusetts, home of the best cheese in the United States, "heard news that threatened to sour their curds forever." Several Cheshire citizens reported that the townsfolk of Norton, Connecticut, were not only coloring their cheddar and flavoring it as well, they were also the favored suppliers to the nation's premier dwelling-the White House. Such an exigency demanded drastic action. Elder John Leland proposed a solution: a concerted effort to make a huge cheddar as a gift for President Jefferson-a cheese so large that he would serve it for years, thus eliminating the competition. Except for the dissenting voice of Phineas Dobbs, a curmudgeon if ever there was one, the citizens of Cheshire embarked on their historic project. How they solved problems from finding a cheese press large enough to squeeze the whey to transporting the huge object to Washington is a triumph of Yankee ingenuity documented in a reportorial, tongue-in-cheek style, extended in droll, elegantly limned pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations. The book is handsome-as pleasing to look at as it is delightful to read. m.m.b.