The Search for Delicious
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 1999
My mother read me this story when I was in second grade, reading new chapters each night before I went to bed. I was in love with the story, the characters -- everything about it. There was a sense of magic and mystery that seemed to send me off to bed every night, as Gaylen's quest for delicious, the story of Ardis the mermaid, and the treacherous Hemlock took over my dreams. I often would read the book again and again, throughout grade school, until I misplaced it. Later, once I had entered college, I came across the book at home. I was able to read it in one afternoon, and was amazed at how the power of the story was still within those pages. Moreover, I was able to recognize its allegorical power. It is a must read for everyone with some sense of imagination, as well as an interest in keen political satire.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 1999
The book that I read was titled The Search For Delicious, written by Natilie Babbit. I believe that it would be most enjoyed by readers of fantasy books. It is purely a fantasy story. The story is basically about a boy named Gaylen who is sent on a quest through the kingdom to find what people think is truly delicious so that his father can complete his dictionary. Unfortunately, what start out to be a simple question turns into something that will tear the nation apart.
My first opinion of the book is that its characters were mainly understandable and believable. I found this to be strange, knowing that it's a fantasy. The mythical characters led lives similar to mortals but each different in it's own way. For my second focus, I'd like to explain how I chose this book. I picked this book out primarily for its unusual title. It drew me to it because it made no sense at the time. The last item I would like to bring to focus is the author's vivid description of the mythological character like the mermaids and winds. Phrases like "a voice so low and soft that he had to bend close to distinguish it from the lap of the water at the rock" and "...leaves of exquisite tree frothed low..." frequently appear during the piece and make it quite realistic and enjoyable.
As you have probably inferred by yourself, this piece is splendid for young and old fantasy lovers and even those who aren't. This book will give you a marvelous insight into how much there might be, beyond what we know.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2003
"There will be civil war!" the {Prime Minister} burst out at last. "Splits, upheavals, and people taking sides! Smiles will be forgotten and spring will escape notice! Little flowers will push up, only to be trodden down, and birds will sing unheeded." Prime Minister DeCree is making a dictionary, but this is not exactly an ordinary dictionary. Some of the definitions are things like `Affectionate is your dog', `Bulky is a big bag of boxes', and `Annoying is a loose boot in a muddy place.' The King is extremely happy with this dictionary at first, especially the definition `Calamitous is saying no to the King.' He then reads the definition of delicious, which is fried fish according to DeCree, and he says "no." He thinks the most delicious things are apples. The General thinks the definition should be a mug of beer and the Queen favors Christmas pudding. Soon the whole court is fighting over what should be the definition of delicious. So the King decides to send twelve year old Gaylen, DeCree's foster son, to take a poll of the kingdom. The story tells of Gaylen's obstacles and adventures along the way including some helpful dwarfs, a mermaid named Ardis, and a few angry villagers.
I loved this book and could not stop reading it. Natalie Babbitt creates such vivid characters and remarkable situations. I recommend this great fantasy to anyone who enjoys extraordinary adventures in imaginative worlds.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2003
I once found this book in the basement of a very old house that my grandmother has lived in for many years. When I took it up to show her, she told me I could keep it. I took it home that day and read about 10 pages. I was hooked, I would read this book every night, and every night it seemed like a new adventure. After I finished reading it, I misplaced it and could not find it for about 2 years. Then one day I stumbled upon it again, and I read it again. It was easily as great as the first time. The characters in this book are VERY creative, which goes hand in hand with Babbitt's great writing style, and the wonderful, and at times funny, plot. I am now in college and I still make it a point to read the book AT LEAST once a year. This is a great book for people of all ages to read and enjoy. It is, in my opinion, one of the best, if not the best, book ever written.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 13, 2003
I don't know why I picked this up to read it. I just ran across an old copy of a book by an author I haven't read much of and started it. I was absolutely startled to find such a warm book of authentic, feeling relationships, sincere humor, and true depth.
The story is of Gaylen. He lives at court where his father-figure, the Prime Minister, is writing a dictionary. The king and the rest of court have a great dispute on the meaning of the word "delicious." Gaylen is sent to poll the country to find out what is truly delicious. On his journey, he finds that the country is about to be throne into a war over the issue, and Gaylen has to try to contact some pretty magical people to try and save the country.
The book works on a lot of levels. On one hand, it is a humorous, adventurous, and truly touching little novel. You really love the main character and each of the episodes he undergoes makes you like him more. But the novel does have a little deeper side as the conflict over the word "delicious" comments a lot on the nature of relative truth in a fallen world, and Gaylen is on a search to try and bring order back to the world.
From whatever perspective one reads the novel, I think there is something wonderful to find. I am definitely going to purchase myself a copy and recommend it to everyone I know.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2001
The Search for Delicious is a inviting book fillied with adventure and suspense. I recommend this book for people ages eight to thirteen. This book is abou Prime Minister who is trying to make a dictionary and everyone in the King's court is fighting about the definition of delicious. One thing I love about this plot is because it's so believable, and it will never make you bored or not want to read it. There's always something else happening next. My favorite part of the book is when the main character Gaylen goes out to find what the townspeople want for the definition of delicious, I reading all the suggestions for the definition...it makes me hungry! A good thing about this book is that you'll will always know what's going on. I definietly rate this book five stars!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2001
The great author, Natalie Babbit got herself in to something delicous! The book,"The Search for Delicious" is about a boy named Gaylen (who is the prime ministers adopted son)who is sent by the king to find the definition of delicious. Through fights and disagreements,Gaylen finds out secrets about mystical creatures on the earth.Now Gaylen gets interested and anxious to find out more. Will Gaylen be able to find the results of this poll? Will Gaylen find the answers to these hidden secrets about mystical creatures?
recommended for ages 8+
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 1999
Babbitt has written a wonderful tale of a boy on a most unusual adventure. My fifth grade class enjoyed the many characters Babbitt invented along the way. The book was filled with adventure, humor, and a bit of a lesson about greed. As the protagonist, Vaungaylen searches for one meaning for the word "delicious" on which everyone can agree, and just when you think the search is hopeless, he finds his answer. An excellent fast read with marvelous characters, The Search for Delicious is sure to be a hit with many young readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2011
The premise sounds preposterous: a country brought to the brink of civil war over debate about the proper definition of the word "delicious." The king favors apples, the queen prefers Christmas pudding, the Prime Minister votes for fried fish - and they're willing to fight over it. When the Prime Minister sends his young ward out into the kingdom to poll the citizens, hoping to settle the matter by majority vote, it isn't long before *everyone* is up in arms. What a silly idea! After all, everyone knows that "delicious" is a big bowl of spaghetti with plenty of sauce, a mountain of parmesan cheese on top, and a generous sprinking of sun-dried tomatoes, with red velvet cake for dessert . . . right?

As frivolous at it sounds, however, Natalie Babbitt has spun a profound novel from this deceptively simple plot. In "The Search for Delicious," she creates a richly realized world populated with foolish yet lovable mortals and a few irascible fairy-tale creatures. The novel is full of rich wisdom and subtle yet delightful humor, and the writing is pitch-perfect, from the innate poetry of Babbitt's sumptuous prose to the characters' odd, but perfectly suitable, names (a sweet little girl named Medley, a dwarf named Bevel, a villain named Hemlock, a mermaid named Ardis). One does not read this novel so much as dream it with a sort of spellbound awe.

This deceptively slender novel is packed with some weighty themes - the insidiousness of conflict, the blindness of most folks to what really matters, even the issues of mortality and permancence that Babbitt would later develop further in her masterpiece, "Tuck Everlasting" - yet never feels at all heavy. Children will enjoy the whimsical fairy tale, while adults will savor the allegorical nuances. "The Search for Delicious" is the sort of book that reminds you why literature was invented. Read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2001
This book was amazing. Its exciting charictors will bring you into the story and the suspence will keep you up all night as it did me. It is about a boy named Vaungaylen (Gaylen for short) who goes on a journey to take a poll around the kingdom. He has to find out what most people think is the most delicious food because the man who raised him is making a dictioary and he needs the definition of delicious. It is great for those who love adventures as well as those who prefer other genres. There is comedy when the king and his men argue a little bit of romance when Gaylen finds a friend and a little bit scary when the villain follows Gaylen on his journey. The story is not one of those every day adventure ideas but that is what makes it so great!
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