Born Hungry: Julia Child Becomes “the French Chef” by Alex Prud’homme, illustrated by Sarah Green

Published by Calkins Creek

Summary:  “I was born hungry, not a cook,” Julia Child said of her early days.  Her family employed a cook, so young Julia never had to learn to prepare food.  With a hunger for adventure, Julia volunteered for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II, where she was sent to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and met her future husband, Paul Child.  Paul had lived in France and introduced Julia to fine food and wine.  After getting married, the couple moved to Paris, where Paul worked at the US embassy and Julia threw herself into learning French cooking.  She signed up for classes at Le Cordon Bleu and read French cookbooks at night.  The book ends with her opening L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes (The School of the Three Hearty Eaters) with two French friends and a picture of Julia on TV.  Includes a two-page author’s note with photos that gives more information about Julia’s television career, an extensive list of resources, and a recipe for scrambled eggs (Oeufs Brouillés) .  40 pages; grades 1-5.  

Pros:  Alex Prud’homme’s grandfather was Paul Child’s brother, and he worked with Julia Child on her memoirs.  His intimate knowledge of her life makes for an engaging picture book, with mouth-watering descriptions of food that are enhanced by the illustrations (often accompanied by the word “Yum!”).

Cons:  I was sorry that the story ended just as Julia’s career as the French Chef was beginning.

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