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Popcorn at the Palace Hardcover – September 15, 1997
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3. In an author's note, McCully distinguishes fact from fiction in this picture book about a pioneer entrepreneur. Olmsted Ferris, Concurrance Ann, and their daughter, Maisie, are considered oddities by their traditional neighbors. Mustard, canary seed, and popcorn are not standard crops in Galesburg, IL, in the mid-1800s. But the man perseveres, and when Maisie explains their unusual-looking cornstalks to a visiting British journalist, her father sees the potential for a new market abroad. He and Maisie book passage for England and secure an invitation from Prince Albert to demonstrate the "corn that turns to snow." During their presentation, Queen Victoria gives Maisie a French doll dressed in velvet and lace, and father and daughter receive an order for their product. McCully's impressionistic watercolors, highlighted with pastels, show the contrast between prairie and palace; the artist's palette ranges from the soft browns of a frontier fireside to the lush greens of Windsor. Pair this with Aliki's Corn Is Maize (HarperCollins, 1976), Tomie dePaola's The Popcorn Book (Holiday, 1978), and, of course, a big bowl of the fluffy kernels for a primary-grade storytime on a uniquely American treat.?Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
McCully (Starring Mirette and Bellini, p. 559) bases this tale on a piece of history from her own hometown, Galesburg, Illinois, and one of its innovative founders, Olmsted Ferris, who experimented with unusual crops. When Olmsted learned that popcorn was unknown in Europe, he took a shipment of it to London and obtained an audience with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to demonstrate this wonder. Victoria gave Olmsted a doll for his young daughter, which was passed down through the family for generations. McCully fleshes out this historical account and tells it from the perspective of Olmsted's daughter (here called Maisie), imagining that the idea of exporting popcorn originated with her and having her accompany her father to London and to Victoria's court. The Ferrises are portrayed as energetic non-conformists, looked at askance by their staid neighbors before their trip to England, and lionized upon their return. What readers will remember is the pioneer spirit behind this appealing tale and a spunky girlreal or notat its center. (Picture book. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Top customer reviews
I liked the book because it told a fictional story about a snack that almost every one loves, popcorn. The illustrations were good and the story was written very well. I think almost everyone will enjoy and understand this book. I also liked this book because it wasn't an ordinary picture book.This book had a story, it went very deep in character and it really got my attention. So if you like a good story, I suggest you read this book.