Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Fannie in the Kitchen

Fannie in the Kitchen

Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator:  Nancy Carpenter 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2001   ISBN: 978-0689819650

Marcia is most annoyed. Her mother has told her that they are getting a new cook, someone who will be "mother’s helper." Why should they need such a person when Marcia herself is her mother’s helper? Marcia sincerely hopes therefore that the new cook, Fannie Farmer, is going to be terrible. No such luck though. Fannie is an excellent cook and she is soon teaching Marci some of her kitchen wisdom. It must be noted however that Marci does not always succeed in her culinary exploits and there are some food disasters which Fannie has to help her sort out.

Not surprisingly Marcia finds herself getting very fond of Fannie and since her mother is so busy with the new baby the little girl spends a lot of time in the kitchen, watching and learning. Marcia wishes very much that she knew all of the wonderful cooking secrets that lie in Fannie’s head. When she tells Fannie this, the red-headed cooking wonder comes up with the idea of writing down in a book all the things she knows; the secrets, the tips, the recipes.

Soon word gets around about the book that Fannie has created and everyone wants to use it, not just Marcia. It would seem that Fannie Farmer has something very special to offer the world.

Deborah Hopkinson has created a delicious story about a woman who changed the way thousands of women cook. Fannie made it possible for just about anyone to learn how to cook by developing the first real recipes with exact measurements of ingredients. Her book is still widely used today by cooks of all ages.

At the back of the book the author gives us a more detailed biography of Fannie and she includes one of Fannie’s famous recipes.

With great creativity the illustrator combines eighteenth century engravings and her own pen and ink and watercolor illustrations to create one of a kind artwork that gives the reader a sense of the times and that are visually intriguing and unique.

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