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Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child

Overview

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raves, "Chef and TV personality Julia Child likely would have delighted in and hooted over this wide-ranging picture-book biography.... Readers young and old will devour this fete pour les yeux."

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 ...

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Overview

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raves, "Chef and TV personality Julia Child likely would have delighted in and hooted over this wide-ranging picture-book biography.... Readers young and old will devour this fete pour les yeux."

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Chef and TV personality Julia Child likely would have delighted in and hooted over this wide-ranging picture-book biography. Hartland’s (How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum) trademark naïve-styled cartoons fill each panel and page with activity, their liveliness nodding to Child’s own energy. A color palette limited to sage and sea greens, gray-blues, reds, and browns keeps the myriad vignettes from overwhelming. Humorous touches—such as her singed eyebrows while making crêpes suzette—set an effervescent tone. One doesn’t expect biographies of this length to be exhaustive, but Hartland’s is remarkably so, covering Child’s early years in Pasadena, her stint with a spy agency in WWII, her world travels, and cooking adventures. The narrative is done in handwritten typeface, an informal combination of cursive and printing that winds around the illustrations and down the pages and includes numerous French phrases with translations. One spread even outlines step-by-step directions (in 37 numbered panels) for making chicken galantine. Readers young and old will devour this fête pour les yeux, which concludes with a short epilogue, bibliography, and, of course, a crêpe recipe. All ages. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
A homey biography introduces children to Julia Child. Julia Child's imposing but unglamorous figure and rumbly voiced television presence charmed cooks and eaters alike, even as her cookbooks changed kitchen dynamics in many American households. Hartland uses a naive cartoon storytelling style--several scenes on a page, accompanied by an energetic handwritten, partly cursive text--to recount her journey to success as a renowned cook. Lively tableaux deliver an affectionate tribute to this strong-minded woman. Scenes from Julia's tomboy childhood include mention of Julia's large feet and the three foods her mother would make on cook's night off: biscuits, codfish balls and Welsh rabbit. The book moves onto her brief career with the OSS, her marriage to Paul Child (and their mutual interest in food) and their move to Paris. From Julia's education at Le Cordon Bleu and her subsequent success in producing cookbooks, it's clear that Julia succeeded through her attention to detail and her luck in matching passion for food with her ability to cook it expertly. The 37 steps in Julia's preparation of a galantine for her sister "Dort the Wort" are amusingly detailed, and though readers are not told whether Dorothy was impressed, the anecdote is telling. While these stories may be familiar to adult readers, they are here perfectly pitched to introduce the determined woman who became synonymous with French cooking in America. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-11)
The New York Times Book Review
Jessie Hartland's Bon Appétit! is bursting with exuberant urban-naïf gouache paintings and a hand-lettered text that somehow manages to recount every second of Child's life.
—Ann Hodgman
From the Publisher
Chicago Tribune, June 27, 2012:
"Hartland deftly portrays in both word and drawing the awkward grace, the passionate personality and the spunky gusto of her subject. At times, you can practically hear Julia's trademark trill leaping cheerily out of the pages.”

New York Times, June 15, 2012:
"...bursting with exuberant urban-naïf gouache paintings and a hand-lettered text that somehow manages to recount every second of Child’s life."

Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2012:
"A charming introduction to the woman and her career, told in cluttered-yet-delightful illustratinos and exuberant hand-lettered text."

Boston Globe, August 14, 2012:
"Author Jessie Hartland chronicles Child’s rise to fame in a unique way. The book has the look and feel of a scrapbook, with handwritten text and numerous doodles that make it a fun read."

Epicurious.com, July 13, 2012:
"Visually, it's just delightful; Hartland captures the boundless energy, the joie de vivre that I imagine Julia exuded in person. And just in time for Bastille Day, there's a crêpe recipe for you to try."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, March 19, 2012:
“Chef and TV personality Julia Child likely would have delighted in and hooted over this wide-ranging picture-book biography…. Readers young and old will devour this fête pour les yeux.”

Starred Review, Booklist, July 1, 2012:
“...achieves a feel that is a perfect match for Child’s personality and cooking style: exuberant, messy, gangly, and charming."

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2012:
"Lively tableaux deliver an affectionate tribute to this strong-minded woman…While these stories may be familiar to adult readers, they are here perfectly pitched to introduce the determined woman who became synonymous with French cooking in America.”

School Library Journal, May 2012:
"Books for young foodies are very popular, and this is one that any library embracing the trend should have...Hartland’s style makes for a quick but informative read that portrays Child as a fascinating, groundbreaking, but still grounded person. Children interested in food and cooking will get a lot out of the book."

School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Books for young foodies are very popular, and this is one that any library embracing the trend should have. Hartland's cartoon scrapbook style—more closely resembling Marissa Moss's Amelia's Notebook (S & S, 2006) than either graphic novels or standard picture-book biographies—works beautifully in exploring the life and career of Julia Child, with handwritten captions and stories complementing cartoon images of the chef and her world. Child is especially famous for bringing French cooking to America with Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and the style of this book is so engaging that kids might actually find themselves interested in reading about the complexities of publishing a French cookbook in America. The author also mentions her subject's early life, her work with the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, her international life, and, finally, how she became so passionate about cooking. Hartland's style makes for a quick but informative read that portrays Child as a fascinating, groundbreaking, but still grounded person. Children interested in food and cooking will get a lot out of the book.—Heather Talty, formerly at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375869440
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/22/2012
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 254,874
  • Age range: 4 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

JESSIE HARTLAND is the author of eight picture books for children, including her most recent, How the Sphinx Got to the Museum, which Booklist, in a starred review, called "exhaustive, dizzying, yet crystal clear [in] detail." Jessie Hartland is also a commercial artist whose work can be seen on ceramics and fabric, as well as in advertisments. An avid cook, Jessie traveled to Paris and the French countryside to research this book. Jessie divides her time between a house near the water on Long Island and a loft in lower Manhattan, New York. Learn more at jessiehartland.com.

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