The Boy Who Wanted to Cook

Overview

La Bonne Vache (The Good Cow) is a little restaurant in the south of France. It takes its name from and is famous for its boeuf à la mode, a delicious beef stew. Ten-year-old Pierre longs to follow in the culinary footsteps of his father, Monsieur Valcourt. Monsieur Valcourt is the chef and owner of La Bonne Vache. Pierre spends as much time as possible in the restaurant's kitchen, hoping for a chance to demonstrate his cooking skills. But his parents shoo him away and he is not allowed to cook. One day Pierre ...
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The Boy Who Wanted to Cook

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Overview

La Bonne Vache (The Good Cow) is a little restaurant in the south of France. It takes its name from and is famous for its boeuf à la mode, a delicious beef stew. Ten-year-old Pierre longs to follow in the culinary footsteps of his father, Monsieur Valcourt. Monsieur Valcourt is the chef and owner of La Bonne Vache. Pierre spends as much time as possible in the restaurant's kitchen, hoping for a chance to demonstrate his cooking skills. But his parents shoo him away and he is not allowed to cook. One day Pierre meets a visitor who is on his way to eat at the restaurant. This is no ordinary visitor but an important food critic. His experience at La Bonne Vache could bring great honor to the restaurant. At last, Pierre sees his chance to prove himself. Award-winning author Gloria Whelan received the National Book Award for her young adult novel, Homeless Bird. Her books with Sleeping Bear Press include The Listeners, Friend on Freedom River, and Jam and Jelly with Holly and Nellie. She lives in Michigan.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3–4—Pierre's parents own a small restaurant in the south of France. Although the boy longs to be a chef, his father says he is too young to cook. While he is out riding his bike, a stranger stops him and asks directions to his family's restaurant. Pierre notices that the man has an "inspection form" with him and that he is going to rate the restaurant, but he simply tells his parents that a new guest is coming to dine. As they prepare for the visitor, Pierre must go to the village for special ingredients. He spots some fresh wild mushrooms in the field and gathers them. Although his father's recipe for boeuf à la mode does not include morilles, Pierre slips them into the pot when his parents aren't looking. The reviewer loves the dish and awards the restaurant a star. The illustrations are beautiful and have a charming, folksy flair. In France, chefs are held in high regard and meal preparation is done painstakingly, with the finest ingredients. This book is a reflection of those values and provides a glimpse into rural life. French words are sprinkled throughout, many of them defined within the text, and a glossary and pronunciation guide are appended. This book does many things well; however, the slight story may not hold much interest for American children.—Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
Kirkus Reviews

A riveting tale of French life? Au contraire.

A fictional companion to the publisher's E Is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet (2010), this entry in the Tales of the World series weaves French phrases into a blasé story about 10-year-old Pierre, whose father is owner and chef of a quaint restaurant near the Tarn River in the south of France. Although he sees the world as "one big beautiful meal," his father (depicted as the quintessential portly chef with bulging, expressive eyes, a thin handlebar moustache and a white toque) thinks Pierre is too young to cook. After a restaurant critic asks the boy for directions to his family's restaurant, Pierre decides that honor demands that he refrain from telling them the critic's identity. Instead, he announces that a stranger from a long distance will be dining with them and scurries to pick local delicacies, including the first morilles (wild mushrooms) of the season. When his father refuses to use them in his signature beef dish, Pierre secretly adds them and not only wins the restaurant a star but his father's pride for his cooking skills and honor. While Adams' acrylic paintings on board lend a charming, folksy feel, the narration focuses more on French phrases rather than the culture. Only Francophiles will overlook the didactic messages at the conclusion.

Needs more spice. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-9)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585365340
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2011
  • Series: Tales of the World
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Gloria Whelan
Gloria Whelan

National Book Award-winning author Gloria Whelan weaves rich historical detail into this compelling mystery. Ms. Whelan is the bestselling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award, Parade of Shadows, and Listening for Lions. She lives in northern Michigan.

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