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Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis Hardcover – June 18, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 1–3—Edna Lewis was an African-American chef in New York City when neither women nor African Americans were generally in such positions. This story is loosely based on her childhood in rural Virginia where her family lived off the land. It was that upbringing that helped create the celebrated chef who understood the importance of fresh ingredients in her cooking. While young children may not understand about fresh ingredients and a career in cooking, they will enjoy learning about where the food they eat comes from. Gourley follows her character through the growing season, starting in early spring and ending with the autumn frost. The fruits, the berries, and the nuts they pick are all used in the meals the family eats, with the surplus being canned and preserved for the winter months. Gourley's luscious watercolors will have readers salivating as the berries plunk into pails and peach juice drips down chins. The story itself does run a little long for young listeners but the short ditties the children sing about what they are picking help to liven it up. Pair this title with Donald Hall's Ox-Cart Man (Penguin, 1979) to show children the rhythm of the seasons and a time when we were much more connected to the basics of life.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
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Edna Lewis, the granddaughter of an emancipated slave who founded Freetown, Virginia, grew up to become a famous chef of southern cuisine. Inspired by Lewis’ childhood, this debut children’s book by an artist and cookbook author celebrates the growing seasons and the irreplaceable pleasure of fresh food shared with family. From spring’s wild strawberries to deep summer’s tangy tomatoes and fall’s harvest of nuts, each season brings a new delight on the Lewis family farm, and while young Edna helps harvest the crops, she dreams about what to make with each tantalizing new ingredient: strawberry shortcake, watermelon pickles, nut-butter cookies. Gourley’s colloquial words evoke the rhythms of southern speech, while frequent rhymes, spoken in the multiple voices of family members, increase the folksy flavor. Watercolors in bright, juicy colors echo the story’s themes of abundance in lush scenes of the fresh fruits and vegetables, the well-stocked pantry, and the African American family working and then dining together. A final biographical section about Lewis includes several southern, kid-friendly recipes. Grades K-3. --Gillian Engberg