Earlier this month, we ran a post on October being National Pizza Month for a good reason. Those who know us understand that if we invite you for dinner, we will probably be having pizza. And even if we don’t invite you for dinner, we will probably be having pizza. This is what we have at least two times a week. We have been known to have it every single day in a given week. So naturally I was very excited to find this book, after first hearing about it on Jama’s excellent blog.
This book is not only about the joy of pizza and the history of pizza, but is bilingual in both English and Italian, something you don’t see often. [This feature will help you memorize appropriate things to say when you travel to Italy to experience the real thing!]
The story is told by a little girl in Pienza, “a small town in Italy where Pope Pius II was born.” The author (who is also the illustrator) takes you through the town via bright, folk-style acrylics under which are simple sentences in English, then Italian. Although the Italian is not shown phonetically, there is a very good guide to pronunciation at the end of the book.
After telling you about her town and about the customs and habits of the people (“Here in Italy, we eat our main meal at midday”), the little girl starts to explain the history of pizza.
Some of the pictures are humorous, such as the one showing Mona Lisa with a slice of pizza. But all of the illustrations are so rich in color and happy in tone, it’s hard to choose a favorite.
The author doesn’t just keep the action in Italy. She informs us that “The first pizzeria in the United States opened in New York City in 1905.” She notes that “pizza really became popular after the Second World War. Soldiers returning from Italy talked about it when they got home.”
I could go on recapitulating every page for you, but now I can hold back no longer and must go make pizza. This joyous book will inspire you and your children to do the same! Helpfully, the author even includes a recipe at the back of the book, along with some more in depth notes about the history of pizza.
Evaluation: This charming book filled with delightful pictures and fascinating information will have you watering at the mouth.
Published by David R. Godine, 2013