July 2, 2012
Minette’s Feast by Susanna Reich, illustrated by Amy Bates
How do you make someone like Julia Child accessible to children? Simple. Just connect her to something that children find sympathetic. Author Susanna Reich does this by telling the reader about Minette, Julia Child’s Parisian cat.
When they moved to Paris, Julia Child and her husband wandered the cobblestone streets, visiting shops, spotting tiny courtyards and having many fine meals. Yet something was missing from their lives until they were adopted by an energetic cat with a lovely speckled coat.
Like many a Parisian, Minette had very fine taste in food and something out of a can simply would not do. How to solve this problem? Minette had her own solution —
“What a thrill to pounce on an unsuspecting bird! How delightful the crunch of a fresh-caught mouse. . .”
Not that that was all she was given. She was offered bits of her peoples’ lunch or freshly cooked fish heads, but “mouse and bird were really much preferred.
While Child’s buys her knife set, studies cooking at the Cordon Bleu and becomes a gourmet cook, Minette continues to stalk the mice that plague the apartment.
In this brief picture book, Reich captures not only Child’s love for food and entertaining but also the playful, finicky nature of Minette. While the book won’t tell a young reader everything there is to know about Child’s it is enough to whet the appetite and leave the reader hungry for the next course.
This book would also make an excellent gift for the adult in your life who is nuts for Julia Child. In addition to listing the sources for all dialogue found in the book, the author’s note also gives sources for the various facts and a pronunciation guide for all French terms.