Ah...the search for delicious...
what a lovely quest to embark upon.
The bulk of this quest is carried out by Vaungaylen. Gaylen, as he is known, was left by is mother, in a basket, at the gates of the castle. He was quickly adopted by Prime Minister DeCree.
The Prime Minister began work on a dictionary when Gaylen was twelve years old.
The King was quite pleased with the Prime Minister's progress:
A: "He liked 'Affectionate is your dog'."
B: "Bulky is a big bag of boxes."
C: "Calamitous is saying no to the King."
D: "Delicious is fried fish."
But, no, that didn't please the king.
The King thought apples should be declared the most delicious.
It didn't please anyone else either.
The Queen thought Christmas pudding.
The Queen's trouble-maker brother piped up that his vote was for nuts.
The General stated that a mug of beer is delicious.
Gaylen was asked to set out around the kingdom gathering everyone's votes as to the best definition for "delicious".
In a land where "nothing" belongs to the people and the world is filled with mermaids, woldwellers, and dwarves, a minor story is interwoven in the main one.
Our little one (age five) and I have been reading this book for many months. She found it so interesting that she was able to remember very minor details of the story from one reading to the next. Today as I was writing this review she reminded me that someone had clearly affirmed a preference for "beer" as being delicious. Given that, I can say that this book can be used as a read-aloud selection for children as young as probably age four, perhaps a precocious age three. The first time I read this book it was to our two younger boys who were nearing ages seven and eight.
Natalie Babbitt also wrote Tuck Everlasting which I read in August 2007 and again in April 2008. I'm not much of a rereader of books and there isn't a lot of time between those two readings. The prose with which she wrote Tuck Everlasting really satisfied me and so I returned to it very soon. The Disney film adaptation of Tuck Everlasting is also very well done.
My Review of Tuck Everylasting by Natalie Babbitt