Review: THERE’S A RAT IN MY SOUP

TITLE: THERE’S A RAT IN MY SOUP: COULD YOU SURVIVE MEDIEVAL FOOD? (Ye Yucky Middle Ages series)

AUTHOR: Chana Stiefel

ILLUSTRATOR: Gerald Kelly

PUBLICATION INFO: Enslow, 2012 (Paperback)

ISBN: 978-0-7660-3785-4

SOURCE: Publisher-provided copy

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Grades 3-5 (Amazon), Grades 5 – 9 (publisher); I think Amazon’s grade-level designation is more appropriate.

GENRE: nonfiction

OPENING and SYNOPSIS:

“Turning a long metal skewer, the cook roasts a whole swan over a blazing fire. For gravy, he mixes the bird’s blood with its heart, liver, and guts. He stirs in pieces of bread and adds some broth. The swan’s skin and feathers are then stuck back onto its body to make it look alive. Dinner is served!”

Enjoy reading about mouth-watering “delicacies” like this roast swan, pottage (think gruel), blackbird-filled pies and more in this delightful romp through medieval cooking. In 48 pages, Stiefel covers royal food and feasts, as well as the peasants’ plight. She also looks at the constant threat of starvation that plagued the people of the Middle Ages.

THEMES/TOPICS: history (European), cookery

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: This gross-out books is gobs of fun. Stiefel’s prose is delightfully descriptive. Her conversational and humorous voice truly put the “story” in this history. Yet, at the same time, it’s clear this is a well-researched text. Stiefel includes quotes from people who lived in the Middle Ages, as well as other tidbits, like the shopping list for a 6,000-person feast. Gerald Kelley’s lively illustrations are a perfect match for the text, keeping the book fun and engaging for young readers. You’ll find it hard to put down.

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES:

Blog-cation

Dear Blogosphere friends,

It’s summer. Days are long. Nights are warm. The kids are out of school. And there’s just too much beach going, pool swimming, fruit picking, firefly watching and other summer fun happening to be tied to the computer.

So, I’m declaring a blog-cation until August 1st. I won’t blog regularly, but maybe occasionally. And only if I feel like it. I’ll fall way behind on my blog reading and commenting. I won’t check Facebook. I won’t tweet (but how often do I do that anyway?). I’ll just have lots of lazy fun with my two curious kids.

In parting, here are a couple of pictures from our recent cherry picking adventure. We picked 8.25 pounds and canned 15 half pints of jam. There were enough cherries leftover for eating and making a cherry pie. Yum!

 

Mmmmmmm, cherries!

Ace cherry pickers (Finley with Sheyla)