cover image A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar

A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar

Candace Fleming, DK Publishing. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2573-7

As she did in The Hatmaker's Sign, Fleming once again parlays a little-known historical nugget into a diverting picture book. In the late 19th century, the folks of Cheshire, Mass., a locale known for its delectable cheddar, grow mighty disgruntled when they learn that President Thomas Jefferson is offering cheese from a Connecticut town to his White House visitors. The Cheshire residents band together to produce a gigantic wheel of cheese that will catch the Chief's eye and please his palate for years. They gather produce from every milk-yielding bovine in nearby pastures into a ""cow-created river,"" a large apple press squeezes whey from the curds and the village blacksmith pounds out an enormous hoop to hold the 1235-pound, four-foot-high cheese. A town elder, accompanied by the cranky local naysayer transports the formidable fromage by sleigh and ship to the White House, where Jefferson ""cut into the cheddar's golden glory."" With his finely detailed, droll pen and watercolor pictures, Schindler, who collaborated with Fleming on Madame LaGrande and Her So High, to the Sky, Uproarious Pompadour, wryly captures both the period flavor and tall-tale tone of the story. A satisfying, well-aged slice of American lore. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)