16 August 2012

Review: Bon Appetit by Jessie Hartland

In honor of Julia Child's 100th birthday (yesterday), I want to introduce you to Jessie Hartland's Bon Appétit: The Delicious Life of Julia Child. Although this is an illustrated children's biography, it is a wonderful book for food lovers and kids of all ages.

Right off, I need to say that I just love Hartland's illustrations and handwritten text. Each page is filled with colorful drawings, complete with fun details such as maps, animals, food, and nods to which country or state Julia was living in at the time. I also love Julia's clothes, which change (of course) over the years.

Next, Hartland manages to get across Julia's larger-than-life personality and unconventional ways with good humor and fun-to-read tidbits. Here are just four things I learned about the famous chef:

  • Julia Child was a tomboy and was well known as a prankster.
  • She played basketball as a girl.
  • She and Paul lived in at least five different countries.
  • It took Julia four years of hard study, despite living in France, to become fluent in French.
The bulk of the book takes us through Julia's life, from her childhood in California to how she ended up hosting her own PBS cooking show, The French Chef. But what makes this biography special are the little facts and lively drawings that show us the human side of Julia and some of the everyday moments of her life.

What's a Julia Child book without recipes? No worries, Harland includes two (one graphic, one written) that you and your kids can try. There is also a short bibliography so it's easy to learn more. Bon Appétit is a terrific illustrated biography to read with children and is a must-have for any self-respecting foodie.

The scan is from near the end of the book and is about Julia Child's first cooking show (click to enlarge). Isn't it great?

For more on Jessie Harland's artwork and her other books, check out her website. This review will be linked to Kid Konnection, a great feature hosted every Saturday by Julie at Booking Mama.

Buy Bon Appétit at Powell's, at an Indie, at Book Depository, or at a bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs.
Published by Random House Children's Books / Schwartz & Wade, 2012
ISBN-13: 9780375869440
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Rating: B+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 8/16/12, 8:01 AM  

I just read this and absolutely adored it! Isn't it fabulous?!

Harvee 8/16/12, 8:03 AM  

Looks like such a cute book for upcoming little chefs and cooks!

Daryl 8/16/12, 9:04 AM  

what a great book ...

Zibilee 8/16/12, 12:24 PM  

Oh, this is just the cutest thing! And since I love Julia, I need to see if I can get to this one, when I can. Great review!

Belle Wong 8/16/12, 6:17 PM  

This looks like such a fun book! I'm adding it to my list. Love the page you posted.

Anonymous,  8/16/12, 7:54 PM  

I love the sauce on her face in the taste, taste, taste panel. Too cute!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 8/17/12, 7:03 AM  

I've loved seeing all of the Julia around this past week because sadly my vision of her is pretty limited to the Julie and Julia (or other way around?) movie. This sounds wonderfully fun!

Serena 8/17/12, 10:44 AM  

This looks so adorable. I've wanted to go back to the museum in DC to check out her kitchen again for her 100th birthday! Maybe I can do that this weekend...I think it would be fun.

jama 8/18/12, 7:59 AM  

Since you're also a big Maira fan, no surprise that you liked Jessie Hartland's graphic biography. It's a rollicking read full of quirky details. Enjoyed interviewing Jessie this week :).

Chinoiseries 8/18/12, 8:51 AM  

I'm not very familiar with the famous Julia Child (really should watch the J&J movie, which is gathering dust on the shelves...), but this book sounds like great fun. I love that illustration you shared, it's colourful and cheerful!

Laura at Library of Clean Reads 8/18/12, 2:21 PM  

This is the perfect book for kids who love to cook. Great idea to have it in graphic format.

(Diane) bookchickdi 8/19/12, 1:46 PM  

What a lovely book; thanks for sharing this.

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