Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat

Susanna Reich, Author, Amy Bates, Illustrator
Susanna Reich, illus. by Amy Bates. Abrams, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0177-1
Reviewed on: 03/19/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
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Modest in scope, this cozy biography of Julia Child uses her cat, Minette, to introduce the master chef to young audiences. The tortoiseshell stray hangs around the edges of the first few spreads that depict Julia and her husband exploring Paris. Reich’s (Painting the Wild Frontier) lyrical prose is playful; its rhythmic and sometimes alliterative language quickly advances the lighthearted tale. Julia “baked and blanched, blended and boiled, drained and dried, dusted and fried,” and, later, the picky Minette (after sampling one of Julia’s creations) “frisked and flounced.... danced and pranced.” The author admittedly takes literary license with some details, such as the implication that Julia takes classes at Le Cordon Bleu in order to meet Minette’s finicky tastes. The hues of Bates’s (Bear in the Air) muted watercolors—buttery yellows, golds, and slate blue-greens—lend a French feel, as does an early painting of Minette in which she’s made to resemble the feline from Steinlen’s famous “Chat Noir” poster. This charming portrait concludes with a glossary of French words, an afterword, and author notes. Ages 4–8. Agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. Illustrator’s agent: Shannon Associates. (May)
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