I’ve been feeling kind of restless lately in my reading, unable to settle down with any one book for more than a chapter or two. After returning to my bookshelves once again, hoping to find the right book to get me out of my reading funk, I came across a slim volume that I had never noticed before, The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt. While the childish cover didn’t particularly impress me the blurb on the back cover did tempt me to crack the book open, and to my delight I was immediately swept up by the charmingly fanciful tale within its pages.
When the Prime Minister goes to show the king the progress he has made on his dictionary, the king is pleased. ‘Affectionate is your dog’ meets his approval as does ‘Bulky is a big bag of boxes.’ But when the Prime Minister shows the king the D section, a problem arises. The king does not agree that ‘Delicious is fried fish, ’ because he does not care for fried fish. And so the king insists the definition be changed to apples. The queen, who is standing nearby, disagrees. She thinks Delicious is a Christmas Pudding. Soon the whole court is up in arms, heatedly debating what the true definition of Delicious is.
In order to put the matter to rest the Prime Minister sends his young assistant, Gaylen, to travel across the kingdom and question each person as to what their favorite food is. Whichever food item received the most votes will be included in the dictionary. Gaylen is excited at this opportunity for adventure but his enthusiasm quickly fades when his simple question is met with aggression and hostility in each of the towns that he visits. Who knew that Delicious was such a controversial word? But there is another source for the brewing trouble. The queen’s sinister brother, who thinks Delicious is nuts, has taken this opportunity to try to bring down the king.
How will Gaylen finish his task with the country gearing up to a civil war? Perhaps the mermaid, Ardis, might hold the key to solving this problem, if only Geylen knew how and where to find her.
Told in the style of a folk tale, The Search for Delicious is a delightful, magical story that was just so much fun to read. While intended as a children's story it is also humorous and intelligent, making it a book that can be enjoyed just as much by adults. I have no idea how I had managed to overlook this book before but I’m glad I discovered it just when I really needed it, since it helped bring an end my reading slump. I’m also pretty sure that my kids will enjoy it as well and I plan on sharing it with them soon.
After finishing The Search for Delicious I flipped to the front of the book to see what else this author had written and was pleasantly surprised to see that Natalie Babbit had authored on old favorite of mine, Tuck Everlasting (from before the days when I actually cared about things like remembering authors’ names). It made me feel a new connection to the book, knowing that I was already familiar with the author, and from now on it will get the recognition it deserves- at least in my household.