Children's Literature - Donna Freedman
Tropical Santo Domingo and chilly Maine are linked in this delightful picture book. A little girl in each place tells how a common local resource can be exchanged for a marvelous imported treasure: cocoa beans, or blocks of ice. Their explanations of how these things are obtained should interest modern kids who think cocoa comes from the Nestle's can and ice from trays in the freezer. Meade, who illustrated the Caldecott Honor Book Hush! A Thai Lullaby, has outdone herself with these cut-paper wonders.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3A marvelously rich and appealing picture book that satisfies on many levels. Appelbaum tells the stories of two 19th-century girls from faraway lands whose lives are subtly linked and irrevocably changed through their families' occupations. The book opens on the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo where it is always summer and where cacao trees thrive. The young narrator explains how her family harvests, dries, and roasts cocoa beans, which her father then trades on high-rigged schooners from New England for bolts of cloth and the valued commodityice. The scene then changes to Maine where a child of the far north describes her family's ice-harvesting operation and export business. Meade's vibrant cut-paper and gouache illustrations capture the action, industry, and natural beauty of each locale. Filled with fascinating, child-centered details and engaging artwork, this wonderful book is a look at the work-intensive past that also conveys the unequaled joy of savoring the fruits of one's labors.Luann Toth, School Library Journal
In the late 19th century, American schooners brought ice, refined sugar, and other goods to Santo Domingo to exchange for cocoa and coffee beans, and out of that Appelbaum spins a fine story of two children who love chocolate ices.
In the tropical summer of the island, a girl helps her parents collect, harvest, and prepare cocoa beans, which require a lot of coaxing before the transcendent chocolate flavor is released. She goes with her father when the cocoa is traded to a Yankee mariner; he shares a bag scented with balsam needles, as well as the picture of his niece. The niece, in Maine's hard winter, describes how ice is prepared, cut, and made to keep through the warmer months, and then carried to and traded in Santo Domingo. The strong, flat colors of cut paper and gouache make marvelous images of both endless summer and the seemingly endless winter, and the shared fondness for cocoa ice (as well as a seashell and the balsam bag) enable the girls to reach across their different worlds to connect. A tasty treat.