09 July 2011

Weekend Cooking: The Boy Who Wanted to Cook by Gloria Whelan

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


It should come as no surprise that I picked up a few foodie books at BookExpo America (BEA) last May. But you may be surprised that I found one from Sleeping Bear Press, a publisher known for its illustrated children's books.

The Boy Who Wanted to Cook, by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Steve Adams, is an entry in Sleeping Bear Press's Tales of the World series.

Whelan's charming story is about Perrier Valcourt, who lives in a small village in southern France. His father is the owner/chef of a little restaurant called La Bonne Vache (the good cow), where all the villagers come to eat. Monsieur Valcourt is famous for his boeuf a la mode, and Madame Valcourt is known for her wonderful pastries. Ten-year-old Pierre wants to cook too, but his parents think he should be outside playing.

One day when Pierre is out riding his bike, he is stopped by a man who asks directions to the restaurant. As Pierre tells him how to get to La Bonne Vache, he notices the man is from the company that awards stars to the best establishments. Pierre doesn't know what to do. He wants his parents to win a star but he knows that the evaluation is supposed to be anonymous. Will Pierre warn his father?

The Boy Who Wanted to Cook is beautifully illustrated and can be read as an introduction to France and its food (there is even a glossary with a pronunciation guide at the back) or as the opening to a discussion of ethical behavior. Perfect for any young foodie.

Take a look at the sample page, showing Pierre shopping in the village, to get a feel for the illustrations and the text (Click to enlarge. Note: this is scanned from a review copy and does not reflect the final quality of the illustration.) I wish Madam Farcy had a cheese shop in my town!

Published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2011
ISBN-13: 9781585365340
YTD: 63
Source: Review (see review policy).
Rating: B+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


TheBookGirl 7/9/11, 6:12 AM  

This sounds like a wonderful children's book with real appeal for the adult who may be reading it to a young one as well :)

So I am curious as to whether he alerts his parents...guess I'll have to read it to find out!

Tea 7/9/11, 6:33 AM  

I think this is an important book. I would like to read it. I grew up in that era when little boys were given fire engines. Little girls were given a dolly. Never the twain should meet. Thinking about this book, how many wonderful chefs would have been lost if never given the chance to "cook?" Would luv to read it. Great review, as usual. Thanks.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) 7/9/11, 7:11 AM  

Oh fabulous! The men are the cooks in my husband's family so this would go over well for my son, I'm sure. How cool!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 7/9/11, 8:04 AM  

I'm an old foodie and I think the book sounds like a great book! But I will mention it to my young foodie :)

bermudaonion 7/9/11, 8:13 AM  

I love it! The illustrations are gorgeous and you know I'm a sucker for books set in France.

caite 7/9/11, 8:44 AM  

well, I am not so much a sucker for books set in France as I am for food made in France...and I could go for that cheese shop too.

Beth Hoffman 7/9/11, 9:34 AM  

This book sounds absolutely charming!

Beth S. 7/9/11, 9:56 AM  

I love Gloria Whelan's novels so I'm definitely going to have to check out this picture book. I especially love her because she's from my home state of Michigan but even if she weren't I'd still think she is a fabulous writer.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 7/9/11, 10:20 AM  

Cheese!? You've got my attention :)

I hope Pierre took the high road.

Louise 7/9/11, 10:46 AM  

What a great concept for a book. I love books set in France too. I'd certainly like to buy cheese from Madame Farcy instead of mass produced stuff at the supermarket.

Col (Col Reads) 7/9/11, 10:59 AM  

I wish Madam Farcy had a cheese shop in your town too! :-) Seriously, this looks like a great choice for Ellie. I'll look out for it.

Margot 7/9/11, 11:05 AM  

I like the feel to the drawings, especially when I blew up the picture. It sounds like a sweet book.

Vasilly 7/9/11, 11:24 AM  

This sounds like a great book for my little chef.

Gnoe (@Graasland) 7/9/11, 1:58 PM  

EEKS! I had a spasm and posted an old link @ #11! Could you please delete it? Thanks Beth! :)

Beth 7/9/11, 3:06 PM  

Sounds like a great book for my little nephew who loves to cook!

Peaceful Reader 7/9/11, 3:47 PM  

This looks like a delightful book. I should have this for my school library as I have several girls interested in all things French!

The French women's team just won their World Cup game against England, which means French is in the air! :)

Becky 7/9/11, 4:31 PM  

I love the book! There are so many great books that incorporate food, that I hadn't thought about sharing them. This one looks really cute. Thanks for sharing!

I posted a pasta recipe that we've come to love, because it incorporates vegetables. Wherever I can start including more veggies, the better! :)

Kailana 7/9/11, 5:58 PM  

This book looks really great!

Bonnie 7/9/11, 9:48 PM  

This sounds like a charming book for a children's book that would draw both children and adults. I'm a sucker for things French and the drawing looks lovely.

Suzy 7/9/11, 11:20 PM  

I'd love to read these books. One of my favorite books when I was little was one about baking a cake (that got a little out of hand). Maybe that planted the baking seed in my head :-)

Uniflame 7/10/11, 7:11 AM  

I haven't heard of the book before. It is always nice to discover new titles :) I am a bit late this weekend, but I shared a recipe for mango ice cream :)

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove 7/10/11, 8:21 AM  

This book sounds wonderful and one my 3 yr. old would love. I am definitely going to look for it. Thanks for the heads up!

Lisa@ButteryBooks 7/10/11, 8:33 AM  

I am so getting this book! My 4 year old told me yesterday he wanted to be a chef...my heart swelled.

Zibilee 7/10/11, 12:18 PM  

I am really glad that you included that illustration so that we cold kind of get a feel for the book. It looks adorable and like something my best friend's sons would really love. They are at the perfect age for this one. Thanks for sharing!

Julie Goucher 7/10/11, 1:44 PM  

This looks a great little book. Thanks for sharing.

Veens 7/10/11, 2:34 PM  

Oh I love this book already. I am sure I want to try it out. Sounds lovely.

Joy Weese Moll 7/10/11, 3:49 PM  

Great timing. I've been thinking about France and food in advance of Bastille Day this week. I hadn't thought to look at children's books. Thanks!

Julie P. 7/10/11, 11:06 PM  

I need to see this one. It looks gorgeous.

Maggie 7/15/11, 5:42 AM  

Joining you this week for the first time thanks to Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook.
This book sounds like an ideal gift for a teenage nephew who is getting quite serious about his cooking after his last visit to us here in Normandy.
Many thanks for hosting, I'll be following along from now on and will put your button on my sidebar.
Bon weekend,

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