Long before the natural-food movement gained popularity, before greenmarkets sprouted across the United States, Edna Lewis championed purity of ingredients, regional cuisine, and the importance of bringing food directly from the farm to the table. She was a chef when female chefs---let alone African American female chefs---were few and far between, and she received many awards for her work. With lyrical text and glorious watercolor illustrations, author/illustrator Robbin Gourley lovingly traces the childhood roots of Edna's appreciation for the bounties of nature. The story follows Edna from early spring through the growing season to a family dinner celebrating a successful harvest. Folk rhymes, sayings, and songs about food are sprinkled throughout the text, and five kid-friendly recipes and an author's note about Edna's life are included at the end.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||7.80(w) x 10.20(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||4 - 7 Years|
About the Author
Robbin Gourley is an artist and art director as well as an author and illustrator of cookbooks and picture books. She divides her time between rural Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, New York.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Edna Lewis was an African American chef and author best known for her books on traditional Southern cuisine and for her pioneering efforts in the natural foods movement. She won numerous awards for her cooking and her books, and was the first recipient of the James Beard Living Legend Award. This book tells about her childhood on a farm in Virginia, and harvesting and tasting the bounty of her family's farm. The text is mouth-watering and interspersed with folk sayings, songs, and rhymes. Delicate and enchanting watercolors capture the appeal of farm life, and there are even kid-friendly recipes included (Strawberry Shortcake, Corn Pudding, Apple Crisp, Pecan Drops, and Nut-butter Squares). If you don't finish this book craving a fresh peach pie with peach ice cream on top, you are a stronger person than I!
After reading this book, I was so hungry. The vivid descriptions of the harvest being brought in reminded me of the stories my dad told me of him working the farm as a youngster. This would be a great story to teach kids about healthier foods like fruits and vegetables as well as farming.
This book falls right on the line between fiction and nonfiction. It consists of little excerpts from the childhood of Edna Lewis, a girl who grew into one of the best chefs in the world. Each scene depicts Edna and her family picking fresh fruits and vegetables on the farm where Edna grew up. Each scene includes conversations that might have taken place between Edna and her family members and concludes with a song or a snippet of folklore or a short poem about the fruits and vegetables. The story resonates with rhythm and the joy of country living and country cooking. The pictures are bright and busy. The author¿s note at the end tells of Edna¿s life and outlines the research the author did to write the book. There is a short list of Edna¿s cookbooks and, best of all, the author includes a few of Edna¿s recipes.A bit from the book:'A warm breeze is blowing, and it's cherry-picking time. Everyone races to the trees and up the ladders to fill buckets and bellies with the ripe fruit.Edna says, "A deep-dish cherry pie---that'll be the reward for all our hard work."Brother says: "Look at that bird in the cherry tree.He's eating them one by one.He's shaking his bill, he's getting his fillas down his throat they run."
Edna and her family gather fruits, vegetables, and nuts, from the fields and orchards on their farm, and Edna's got an eye for making that pie.This phenomenal picture book's got a lot going on-- perfect for a whole instruction unit in a classroom. There's plenty to learn about how different kinds of foods grow, folk traditions and rhymes, black cultures in the American south, extended families living under one roof. Subtitled "a story about Edna Lewis", the book follows the famous chef before she was famous, or a chef, or even an adult. The end matter includes a brief biography of Lewis and some history about Freetown, Virginia (the town founded by three emancipated slaves, who included Lewis's grandfather) in the author's note, as well as five recipes for foods mentioned in the book. This book would be a fantastic centerpiece for a week of activities in science and social studies for a 2-4th grade classrom, or as a standalone in a storytime, and is certain to pique interest in a kid who finds it on the library shelves.