Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The Search for Delicious

by Natalie Babbitt

This is one of those classics that I had never quite gotten around to reading but always wanted to... until I saw it sitting out one day a couple of months ago, and grabbed it. Glad that I did, too!

Set in a world that is perched on the border between olden days (maybe even medieval) and fantasy, this tale begins with a Prime Minister who is creating a dictionary for the king, and providing relateable examples for each entry. When he gets to "delicious," however, a dispute erupts in the castle and sows discontent. The king sends the Prime Minister's boy, Gaylen, out to poll the countryside on the topic, ignoring the likelihood of spreading even more dissent, and off the boy went on this errand. This may have been enough to cause problems, but the king's jealous, ambitious brother-in-law set out as well, spreading lies in a bid to create havoc that would let him lead a coup.

Aside from all of this, there are old, near-forgotten tales of creatures believed to be the stuff of fairy tales that are discovered to be real, though few would credit it, and their stories are interwoven and used by both the brother-in-law and, as he learns more, Gaylen in his effort to stop Hemlock.

The whole is a wonderful fantasy, and a book that would make a terrific read-aloud, being a great story and gentle enough for younger kids. I'd recommend it for reading to grades 1-4 or for dreamier older kids to read on their own.

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