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Pizza in Pienza
     

Pizza in Pienza

by Susan Fillion
 

What do children and adults love in equal measure? Food! And what food inspires rapture in the hearts of children and adults alike? Pizza! Have your children ever asked where pizza comes from? Who invented the Pizza Margherita? How did anyone think of combining such scrumptious ingredients as mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, and fresh-baked bread? Thanks to Pizza in

Overview

What do children and adults love in equal measure? Food! And what food inspires rapture in the hearts of children and adults alike? Pizza! Have your children ever asked where pizza comes from? Who invented the Pizza Margherita? How did anyone think of combining such scrumptious ingredients as mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, and fresh-baked bread? Thanks to Pizza in Pienza, you and your young charges will have all the answers, in English and Italian, including a recipe for homemade pizza.

Here is the essential history of pizza, told by a charming Italian girl who lives in Pienza and whose favorite food is . . . well, you can guess it - pizza. Life in Pienza is pretty old-fashioned, and our young heroine knows everyone on the street and at the market by name. She comes home from school at midday to eat meals with her family, but in between her snack of choice is pizza, and her favorite place is Giovanni's, where Giovanni cooks pizza the old-fashioned way - in a hot brick oven heated by a wood fire. Her grandmother, of course, makes it by hand and teaches her how to make it too. Her love of pizza even leads her to the library, where our heroine learns all she can about this ancient and ever-popular food, and so do we.

Susan Fillion, author and illustrator of Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel: Bringing Matisse to America, has shifted her attention from France to Italy in this wonderful book for younger readers. While children will love the vibrant illustrations and simple story of this girl and her great love, adults will be riveted by the history and challenged by the bilingual text - for what good is a history of pizza in English only? Read the Italian out loud - Chiudo gli occhi e respiro il suo caldo profumo e il suo sapore - and your mouth will really start watering.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Sarah Harrison Smith
Where better to celebrate food than in Italy, home of perhaps the most globally popular food of all, pizza?…Fillion includes amusing touches in her handsome paintings…Given how much Americans like pizza, this book should find many interested readers; some of them will also enjoy the Italian text that accompanies the English.
Publishers Weekly
The history of pizza charmingly unfolds in a bilingual story with handsome paintings that also celebrate the dish’s country of origin. “My favorite place to go is Giovanni’s, and my favorite food is pizza. I close my eyes and breathe in all the warm and savory smells,” explains a girl with a chestnut-brown bob, who lives in the Italian town of Pienza. As she explains pizza’s origins, she introduces readers to the customs of her community: “Life here is still pretty old-fashioned. The trucks are small, the policemen ride horses, and people walk everywhere.” Fillion (Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel: Bringing Matisse to America) brings the setting to life in dense, expressive paintings with shades of ochre, sienna, and royal blue; in a lighthearted image, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa appears with a slice of pizza dangling from her hand. A trip to the library allows the girl to share additional information, and her whirlwind tour of Italian culture and history, filtered through a veil of mozzarella, is lively and sweet. Endpages discuss pizza’s past and present in detail, and Fillion’s recipe for Pizza Margherita is included. Ages 6�up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
K-Gr 3—This chatty picture book provides the pedigree and history of one of kids' favorite foods. Though the story follows the evolution of Neapolitan-style pizza-a far cry from the frozen ones many children are familiar with-readers won't fuss about the distinctions. Told from the perspective of a pizza aficionado in Pienza, Italy, the narrative is friendly and accessible, making it enjoyable to a wide audience. Each page features one or two short sentences in both English and Italian and talks about the narrator's life and her quest to learn everything she can about her favorite food. The paintings showcase Fillion's compositions, which are evocative of Matisse's use of flattened perspective, bold outlines, and impressionistic swipes of color. In addition to the story, there is a wealth of information available, including an author's note, an Italian pronunciation guide, detailed history of pizza, and the author's recipe for Pizza Margherita. This is a good choice for general purchase due to the pleasant presentation and popular topic.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, MN
Kirkus Reviews
A little Tuscan girl introduces readers to her hometown of Pienza and her favorite food, pizza. Simple, declarative sentences take readers from Queen Margherita of Italy, circa 1889, to the streets of Pienza, where life "is still pretty old-fashioned," to a brief history of the pizza. "[P]izza as we know it," she says, "was really born in Naples," but she goes back even further to inform readers that the ancient Greeks and Italians ate flatbreads before moving on to discuss classic pizza ingredients and the invention of the pizza Margherita. The first pizzeria in the United States opened in New York City in 1905, she continues, but pizza did not become popular around the country until after World War II: "Now there is pizza in Pienza… / …and all around the world!" Her ingenuous voice is matched by equally enthusiastic, folk-style artwork, which looks to be made with oil pastels and is dominated by warm, Tuscan colors. Fillion spices the illustrations with humor, pairing a black-clad nonna on a bicycle to a modish young woman on a Vespa on one page and planting a demurely held slice in Mona Lisa's left hand on another. The English text appears above an Italian translation on every page, and the story is supplemented by an author's note, a pronunciation guide, a two-page history of pizza and a recipe.

Both tasty and just filling enough, just like a slice of pizza Margherita. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781567924596
Publisher:
Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
01/31/2013
Edition description:
Bilingual
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
571,649
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Fillion is an artist and museum educator in Baltimore. After majoring in studio art and French at Middlebury College, she spent a year in Italy, learning Italian and studying art history. Pienza, a somewhat off-the-beaten-track town in Tuscany, became a favorite spot, eventually inspiring this bilingual tale of life and pizza in an Italian village.

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