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Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters Paperback – July, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 5–This collection of 20 fairy tales, each accompanied by at least one recipe, is an oversized, glossy concoction. Most of the stories are European, told in a conversational tone mixing tradition with a dash of the modern (in Cinderella, for instance, …a fairy–with wings and a wand and who knew a wish when she heard it–appeared before her, wrapped in stars.) Toddlers will enjoy The Runaway Pancake, while fourth and fifth graders will appreciate Yolen's Snow White (this heroine doesn't pull any punches). The recipes include tasty-sounding dishes like Very French Toast (to go with the French folktale Diamonds and Toads). Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert are all represented. The dishes will be best for experienced cooks, as some judgment calls are in order (serves a family is stated several times). Sidebars throughout give interesting facts about the stories and the recipes. Yolen's knowledge of folklore shows in her tidbits about the tales and their origins. Many of the food facts are intriguing, too. For instance, alongside the Stone Soup recipe is a note that Al Capone set up Chicago's first soup kitchen. Beha's illustrations, with bright colors and bold, simple lines, are set off by lots of white space, adding to the appealing and accessible look. This is similar to Carol MacGregor's The Fairy Tale Cookbook (Macmillan, 1982; o.p.), but that book does not include complete stories. A fun book for family sharing.–Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

From prehistoric times, stories and food have been "close companions," say Yolen and her daughter, who contributed the recipes in this creative book, which folds fairy tales into a cookbook of kid-friendly recipes. The stories, with the exception of one original story by Yolen, represent mostly European folktales, and Yolen retells them with her usual verve and ease. The tales are divided into four sections (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert), and each story is paired with at least one recipe that connects with the story's themes or references. For example, "Cinderella" inspires a recipe for pumpkin tarts, and "The Runaway Pancake" is matched with instructions for, naturally, "Runaway Pancakes." Stemple's recipes require adult supervision, but the resulting dishes, as well as Beha's spare, whimsical spot illustrations, will capture children's fancy. Detailed marginalia greatly enhance both the folktales and the food sections of this charming offering, which the whole family will appreciate. For more about cooking with kids, suggest Molly Katzen'sSalad People and More Real Recipes (2005) and the titles featured in the Read-alikes "Kids in the Kitchen," in Booklist's October 15, 2005, issue. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Interlink Pub Group Inc; 1 Reprint edition (July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566567513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566567510
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By L Smith VINE VOICE on June 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I love to browse through different cookbooks. I have quite a collection, and usually go to the library to find new recipes to try before I decide to purchase the entire book. I normally look for 3 things in a cookbook, besides delicious recipes that will work for my family. This includes:

1) Pictures of more than ¾ of the recipes (Color pictures are the best)

2) A spiral binding, or at least on that easily lays flat

3) New & innovative recipes that have ingredients I can easily find at a grocery store

For this book, I was intrigued by the fact that each fairy tale in the book was accompanied by at least one recipe that goes along with it. For example, Little Red Riding Hood is accompanied by recipes for Deviled Eggs, Granny's Potato Salad, and Chicken Salad Pockets (all of the items that may have been included in Riding Hood's basket). The book offers great illustrations to go along with each story...this is a beautiful book! However, there are no actual photographs of the finished recipes, and was not in a binding that laid flat. Even though I normally wouldn't rate a cookbook as a 5 star without these items, the premise of the book was fun and fresh, and the book itself was lovely.

I loved the concept of this book, and highly recommend it as a gift for children that like stories and cooking.

Some of our favorites include: Chicken Salad Pockets, Sweet-Smelling Cinnamon Bread, Jack's Magic Party Beans, and Snow White's Baked Apples. Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laura Johnson VINE VOICE on September 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Overall I really liked this book. Jane Yolen's versions of 20 fairy tales (many having to do with food) were fun and nicely retold. Some are pretty familiar to us all and other are more obscure. I also liked the offbeat illustrations by Phillippe Beha.

I'm not sure who did the research but what I enjoyed most were the history of the tales and the facts about food in the columns next to the recipes. Did you know that grapes are considered berries and that pumpkins are 90% water? Who knew? Those types of things in the book I found to be really fascinating.

I love the concept of this book but unfortunately, the recipes are not very magical. I'm sure the woman who wrote the recipes was trying to keep things simple so that children could easily participate in the cooking. Simple is fine but a little inspiration would have helped a lot. The twenty or so recipes are very ordinary on the whole.

This could have been a book used to introduce children to new foods (you know--some of that green stuff along with some herbs and spices) but that is not what we end up getting so it's a bit of a disappointment to an otherwise delightful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Nelms on June 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a creative writing class for second graders. The kids had a great time picking out recipes to make on Fridays. After a while they started coming up with their own recipe ideas. This book opened another outlet for their untapped creativity. I loved it! I just wish I had thought of writing a fairytale cookbook first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John R. Wasse on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book has the most beautiful illustrations on each page. One gets the feeling that the recipes will be as wonderful as the pictures!

The recipes are also very unusual such as Cinderella's "Pumpkin tarts" from her infamous carriage ride with the prince.

It also has the most unique memorabilia in the index on each page. I learned things I had totally forgotten since my childhood days when the fables were more truth than fiction. It's a book that will be passed onto the children of the children reading it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Feral Sirensong on April 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always absolutely loved Jane Yolen and having a cookbook written by her is just a dream come true. My son, six years old, is the perfect age for being engaged in the stories AND cooking the resulting recipes. He loves this book.

Ms. Yolen has written many of our family's favorites, including Sacred Places and Child of Fairie, Child of Earth. Anything that has her name on it, I will carefully consider. She's amazing.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Julee Rudolf VINE VOICE on November 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This "literary cookbook" contains four features, illustrations, fairy tales (20), recipes (24) and what the author calls "marginalia," facts and trivia primarily about the fairy tales and the ingredients of the fairy tale-related recipes (over 100). The illustrations are excellent. The fairy tales, except for Brer Rabbit, (which, of course, includes a sticky character whose name causes me to cringe as I read it) are very good, abbreviated versions of the more food-related stories, common as well as less common classics (with the exception of the final tale, one written and previously-published by Jane Yolen). The "marginalia" (notes in the margins) are excellent and include variations of some of the tales, story origins, unusual vocabulary definitions, and food facts. The weakest part of the book is the collection of recipes. Although porridge is the obvious choice to accompany The Magic Pot of Porridge, the recipe itself (add specified amounts of water, oats and salt and cook) is uninspiring. Others in the same category include fruit salad (choose, wash, cut and combine fruit of your choice), pancakes, french toast, pumpkin tartlets (pumpkin pie with topping) and baked apples. Additionally, Seaweed (spinach) Stuffed Shells, which accompanies The Little Mermaid, chosen over many possible seafood-containing recipes, seems odd. The worst choice of recipes, however, follows the story of Little Red Riding Hood. They all contain mayonnaise, which makes me wonder if the hunter might have been able to save his ammunition by sickening the wolf with salmonella-laced goodies from the picnic basket! On the other hand, Goat Cheese Sandwiches, Carrot Soup, Hodja's Kebabs and Magic Pear Grumble seem both enticing and story-appropriate. In summary, although three of the book's four features were well thought out and put into effect, the fourth and most important, the recipes, could have, in general, been more inventive and story-appropriate.
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