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***The Search for Delicious

by Natalie Babbitt

Reviewed May 6, 2003.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1999.  First published in 1969.  167 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF BAB).

My knitting buddy (maybe I should call her my reading buddy!) and her daughter discovered this in our library, and insisted that I read and review it.  They know my taste well by now!  This book, written by the author of Tuck Everlasting, is already a classic.

The prime minister has stirred up trouble in the kingdom by writing a dictionary and trying to find a food that defines delicious.  No one in the castle can agree, so they send out Gaylen, the prime minister’s 12-year-old Special Assistant, to poll the kingdom and give every subject a chance to vote on the food that they honestly believe is most delicious.

Unfortunately, the poll only stirs up more trouble in the kingdom.  Gaylen learns that Hemlock, the queen’s brother, has ridden ahead of him, making the trouble worse.  Hemlock has evil plans for the kingdom.  For some reason, he’s concerned about an old story about a mermaid.

This story relies on some big coincidences, but we’re willing to believe them since it fits with the simple style of the tale.  Again, lovers of fairy tales will enjoy this original invention.  This one would also do well as a family read-aloud, and will appeal to a wide age range.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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