What You Never Knew about Fingers, Forks, and Chopsticks

Overview

Stone Age people invented the first knives...and also the first spoons.

In the Middle Ages the first books of manners told readers to wipe their greasy fingers on the tablecloth. And in 1669 King Louis XIV ordered that table knives should have rounded ends because there'd been too many stabbings.

In What You Never Knew About Fingers, Forks, & Chopsticks, Patricia Lauber and John Manders serve up a hilarious and informative look at how ways ...

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Overview

Stone Age people invented the first knives...and also the first spoons.

In the Middle Ages the first books of manners told readers to wipe their greasy fingers on the tablecloth. And in 1669 King Louis XIV ordered that table knives should have rounded ends because there'd been too many stabbings.

In What You Never Knew About Fingers, Forks, & Chopsticks, Patricia Lauber and John Manders serve up a hilarious and informative look at how ways of eating and manners have changed through the ages. This well-researched tour of social history makes the subject of how we eat more fascinating and fun than you ever imagined it could be.

Describes changes in eating customs throughout the centuries and the origins of table manners.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lauber chronicles the development of eating implements and dining habits in this amusing, enlightening and child-pleasingly yucky book [that] gives kids a rich sense of history, as well as a new perspective on their p's and q's. Ages 6-up. (July)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Lauber has produced a delicious blend of humor and fascinating facts in this historical and, at times, hilarious tour through the rules and tools of eating. From the Stone Age to modern times, all over the globe, the discovery and fine-tuning of utensils that help us slice, jab, and scoop our food are vividly described and depicted. The lively, linear drawings incorporate amusing asides in dialogue balloons that will entertain readers as the text enlightens them about the subject. There are brief instructions on how to use chopsticks; rules of etiquette in the Middle Ages; some modern table-manner tips; and acknowledgments that, at various times and in different cultures, the tool of choice may well be the fingers. James Giblin's From Hand to Mouth (Crowell, 1987) covers similar information in greater detail and in a more serious, though also entertaining, manner. With its amusing visuals, Lauber's book may be the perfect springboard to pique children's interest in this topic. With both books in hand, students will be able to explore fully this rich and satisfying aspect of social history.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This tour through time of varied eating tools is both fun and fascinating. Starting with the Stone Age, which took finger food to extremes until rudimentary knives were born, Lauber (Painters of the Caves, 1998, etc.) travels through the metallic ages (copper, bronze, iron), Middle Ages, Renaissance, and modern times, laying out the evolution of knife, fork, and spoon, the introduction of chopsticks, and the refinement of eating with the fingers. She explains—always with an infusion of humor—the origins and changes in etiquette, and the design tinkerings in flatware (including Louis XIV's stipulation that knives be made with rounded ends to cut down on the number of stabbings at the table). Manders's madcap artwork belies a rigorous and elegant technique of underpainting, dyes and washes; he gives a comic touch to such important historical moments as when it was proper to eat peas with the knife. (bibliography) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689851001
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 years
  • Product dimensions: 10.06 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Lauber is the author of more than ninety books for young people, including Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens, which was a Newbery Honor Book. She lives in Weston, Connecticut, with her husband and two young cats.

As this book went to press, Lauber and Manders were hard at work on a book about bathing and bathrooms through the ages.

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