Pizza! A Slice of History by Greg Pizzoli

Published by Viking Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Sure, everyone loves pizza, but where did it come from originally?  A pizza-loving rat guides readers through a somewhat random assortment of facts (Americans eat 350 slices of pizza every second!) to trace its history from pizza-like (but not quite pizza) foods of the ancient world to the early pizzas of Italy (it helped that Italians, unlike other Europeans, didn’t think tomatoes were poisonous).  The immigration of four million Italians to the US between 1880 and 1924 brought pizza to America, and its popularity increased after World War II when American soldiers returned from Italy.  A review of different pizzas around the US and the world rounds things out.  “Right now somewhere in the world, someone is enjoying a pizza.  Are you?”  56 pages; grades 1-4.

Pros:  A fun and quirky nonfiction book about a topic that everyone will enjoy.  The text draws the reader in with lots of questions and the colorful cartoon illustrations are appealing.

Cons:  Some of the text could have used a bit more context, like comparing the colors of a pizza to the Italian flag with no flag pictured.  Also, I was sad to find no back matter.

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