cover image Pizza! A Slice of History

Pizza! A Slice of History

Greg Pizzoli. Viking, $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-4252-9107-8

With a bespectacled pizza rat as a guide and stylized cartooning punctuated in “four spot colors: sweet-tomato red, fresh-basil green, greasy-cheese yellow, and charred-crust black,” this breezy, reportorial picture book proffers an origin story behind pizza’s perennial popularity. The pivotal figure is the exuberantly mustachioed Raffaele Esposito, a 19th-century Neapolitan chef who created what is now recognized as pizza, and turned Italy’s Queen Margherita into a superfan. Readers also learn how the dish embodies bigger stories of immigration and global events (“Between 1880 and 1924, four million Italians moved to the United States. Aren’t you glad they did?”). Celebrating pizza as both common ground (people of varying abilities, ages, and skin tones enjoy slices around a large table) and a delicious emblem of individuality (pages survey pies including Detroit’s square version and Brazil’s green pea–topped pizzas), Pizzoli’s enthusiasm proves as bubbly as piping-hot mozzarella. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)