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Pickle Words by April Pulley Sayre
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Pickle Words

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Pickle Words by April Pulley Sayre
Hardcover $17.99
Jul 16, 2024 | ISBN 9781623543624

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    Jul 16, 2024 | ISBN 9781623543624 | 4-8 years

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Product Details


“Gherkins workin’ / Mustard—wow! / Piccalilli. / Chowchow now!” In a briny mix of playful verse and commentary, the late Sayre salutes pickled delights of all sorts, from cornichons to beetdyed purple eggs, kimchi to sauerkraut, relishes to chutneys. Along with tallying at least a sampling of the immense array of edibles that are or have been pickled, she points to how pickles are served in cuisines worldwide, then describes the three types of pickling processes, and goes on to close with recipes and reference sources. Meanwhile, in vibrantly hued illustrations, Sun depicts a multicultural group of families hard at work slicing, chopping, or otherwise preparing abundant displays of fruits and veggies, all to be jarred for a climactic outdoor “Pickle Party!” festooned with suggestive floating labels: “drippy,” “zippy,” “zesty,” “puckery.” As incontrovertible evidence of what the author dubs “the power of sour,” young audiences will salivate as much over the invitation to wordplay as the tasty subject matter. Yum.

Who doesn’t love a pickle? Sayre and Sun introduce children to the world of fermented food in this blending of poetry and fact. An author’s note explains that this book arose out of a fun author visit activity creating poetry out of words used to describe pickles. Sayre’s crisp poetry accompanies informative text blocks like a good pickle partners with a sandwich. Not only does she cover fermented foods from a variety of cultures and countries, she also explores the history and science of pickled foods. Sun’s digital media illustrations are as vibrant as pickles are flavorful. Wide-eyed children in every range of skin tones try fermented foods from kosher dills to kimchi, and from chowchow to chutney, which are all labeled with the kinds of punchy words Sayre and her students discovered in her workshops: “zesty,” “puckery,” “fresh,” “sharp,” or just down right “tasty,” to name a few. Back matter includes notes on the different pickling processes—fermenting, canning, and quick pickling—as well as a variety of sources to explore and even a recipe for quick dill pickles. Readers of all ages will be inspired to try new pickles and write some pickle poetry.
Children’s Literature

Through simple, crisp rhymes, Sayre’s collection of pickle poems introduces children to the joys of traditional types of fermented vegetables across cultures. While the poems are not particularly varied in style (four lines, all in an A/B/A/B rhyme scheme), the vocabulary is perfect for early readers to practice on their own, and the rhythms are a pleasure to digest. Adjectives integrated into Sun’s bright, vibrant illustrations also encourage readers to start considering how they, too, can describe the world around them with zest. Poem after poem in the same style on roughly the same subject matter can stretch a little thin if powering through in a single reading; however, the pages are sprinkled with additions that add some spice. Readers will find definitions; descriptions of many types of pickles, chutneys, and relishes from around the world; and, appropriately, a few recipes for making pickles. A small bibliography of pickle books leaves plenty more to discover. Sayre’s note about what inspired her to write the book is intensely sweet and is a posthumous reminder of how much she contributed to the children’s literature community. She fed her readers well on flavorful words, and she will be missed. VERDICT Those keen on finding poetry for emerging readers will find this book a satisfying dish.
School Library Journal

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