Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate from Farm to Family by Elizabeth Zunon

Published by Bloomsbury

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Summary:  While a little girl and her father make a chocolate cake, her dad reminisces about his life in Ivory Coast, growing up on a cacao plantation.  He explains how the cacao beans were grown, and how the whole village helped out during harvest time. When the beans were sold, the family would go to the market to buy food, school supplies, and fabric to make clothes.  Just as the timer rings to let them know the cake is done, the doorbell sounds as well. When the girl opens the door, it’s Grandpa Cacao! He has come for a visit and to meet his granddaughter for the first time. Includes an author’s note with more on the history and science of chocolate, as well as a chocolate cake recipe.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Chocolate lovers will find it interesting to learn how their favorite treat is produced, and will get an interesting glimpse of life in Ivory Coast.  The beautiful illustrations are done in two different styles to show the past and present, as explained in the author’s note.

Cons:  The chocolate industry is not always quite as idyllic as it is portrayed here; the author’s note includes information on child and slave labor that has been used to produce cacao.

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