A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat

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Annotation: Explores changes in families and technology over time, as it depicts four families--from England in 1710 to California in 2010--preparing the traditional English dessert called "blackberry fool."
Catalog Number: #96084
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition Date: 2015
Illustrator: Blackall, Sophie,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-375-86832-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-85438-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-375-86832-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-85438-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2011023589
Dimensions: 25 x 30 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
In four thought-provoking vignettes set a hundred years apart, parents and children make blackberry fool. Accompanied by Blackall's decorative and informative art, this thought-provoking sample shows how a simple task has changed over time. In 1810 Charleston, an enslaved woman and daughter get only bowl lickings; in 2010 San Diego, a dad and son host a diverse group of friends. Recipe and historical notes appended.
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 1&11;3&12; More than mere confection, A Fine Dessert is a rich and satisfying journey across four centuries, told through the eyes of four families. Beginning with a young girl and her mother picking wild blackberries in Lyme, England in 1710 and ending with a father and son in modern day San Diego, each story is explored through the lens of making Blackberry Fool, a treat consisting of berries, cream, and sugar. Jenkins keeps the text tightly focused on the task at hand: gathering the ingredients, mixing them, presenting the finished dessert, and enjoying the sweet rewards. Each story follows the same pattern, allowing children to observe similarities and differences in across time periods. Technological progress is highlighted in the evolution of the mixing process: from a bundle of clean, soft twigs in the 18th century to a metal whisk made by a blacksmith in the 19th century to a cast-iron rotary beater in the 20th century and finally to the nearly effortless electric mixer in the 21st century. Blackall's ink and watercolor illustrations, accented with real blackberry juice, provide the details that both unify and differentiate the various historical periods. The story set on a Charleston plantation could have been uncomfortable in less capable hands. A spread shows a white family sitting down to supper as a slave family waits upon them. Jenkins and Blackall show rather than tell, allowing young readers to draw their own conclusions about the fact that the characters must hide in a closet to enjoy the dessert they've worked so hard to make. The final spread depicts a modern multigenerational, multicultural gathering. A recipe for Blackberry Fool is included. Simply delectable. &12; Kiera Parrott , School Library Journal
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* A blackberry fool is a simple recipe that has been around for ages shed blackberries are folded into whipped cream, then chilled. In this delightful and informative offering, Jenkins and Blackall show families in four centuries making the sweet treat. The book begins in 1710; a mother and daughter pick berries and whip cream using a whisk made of twigs. About 100 years later, a mother and daughter, slaves on a plantation, pick berries and whip cream, but they use a wire whisk, and they're only allowed to eat whatever's left over after serving the masters. Another 100 years later, a mother and daughter buy berries and use a whirring beater, and today, a father and son use an electric mixer to whip cream. The tools and families begin to look different over time, but the recipe is essentially the same, and so is the reaction when kids get a taste mmmm." Blackall's elaborate, antique-like watercolor illustrations are stuffed with historical tidbits, and she includes visual echoes that further link each time period. An author's note explains some of the history, which will be useful for little ones curious about the differences. And for kids wondering what all the fuss is about over blackberry fool, Jenkins provides a recipe. A delicious book about a delicious treat.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 886
Reading Level: 3.6
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.6 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 176629 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.7 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q66205
Lexile: AD700L
Guided Reading Level: M
Fountas & Pinnell: M

New York Times Best Illustrated Book

From highly acclaimed author Jenkins and Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator Blackall comes a fascinating picture book in which four families, in four different cities, over four centuries, make the same delicious dessert: blackberry fool. This richly detailed book ingeniously shows how food, technology, and even families have changed throughout American history.

In 1710, a girl and her mother in Lyme, England, prepare a blackberry fool, picking wild blackberries and beating cream from their cow with a bundle of twigs. The same dessert is prepared by an enslaved girl and her mother in 1810 in Charleston, South Carolina; by a mother and daughter in 1910 in Boston; and finally by a boy and his father in present-day San Diego.

Kids and parents alike will delight in discovering the differences in daily life over the course of four centuries.

Includes a recipe for blackberry fool and notes from the author and illustrator about their research.


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