It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday! My pick for today is A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat
Title: A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat
Written by Emily Jenkins
Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (January 2015)
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: food history, American history, family, historical genealogy, geography, technology
Brief Synopsis: Follow four families over four centuries make the same blackberry fool dessert. The book opens in 1710 in England and the reader sees the mother and daughter picking the blackberries, beating the cream from their cow with twigs. Fast forward a hundred years to 1810 in South Carolina, then 1910 in Boston and finally to San Diego today.
Opening pages: “A bit more than three hundred years ago in an English town called Lyme, a girl and her mother picked wild blackberries.
Their hands turned purple with the juice.
The thorns of the berry bushes pricked the fabric of their long skirts.
Why I like this book: As a family historian I spend a great deal of time researching and rummaging through genealogical records. This book is a delightful and can be used in so many ways to introduce change over four centuries. Kids are introduced to technological advances that affected the daily lives of people. Every hundred years a new kitchen tool is used to make the cream- twigs, a wire whisk, a rotary beater, and finally an electric mixer that affects the time it takes to prepare it. They also see sociological change through the family units presented. The illustrations show the evolution of the family over four centuries from high society, slave society, to a more middle class society that becomes more inclusive and less formal.
The author and illustrator include notes about their research lagniappe for any teacher or researcher. And of course there’s a recipe for blackberry fool!
Resources: A Fine Dessert Poster and Activities (with CCSS tie-ins) is available on the Random House website here.
For more of today’s book reviews, go to author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.