The Chef’s Meow

Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat
By Susanna Reich
Illustrated by Amy Bates
(Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York, 2012, $16.95)

As any cat lover can attest, our cats love us regardless of our status or accomplishments. However, even our greatest achievements leave them unmoved, perhaps bemused.

In Minette’s Feast, Susanna Reich and Amy Bates celebrate the relationship between television chef Julia Child and Minette, her tortoiseshell cat. While Julia masters the art of French cookery in her Paris apartment, Minette hones her hunting skills. Julia’s succulent sauces and fondues do not interest the huntress half as much as the birds and mice she catches. Can Julia prepare a meal that will tempt her fastidious housemate?

Minette’s Feast is a delightful look at the famously warm chef as well as a tribute to the human-feline bond. Reich’s playful prose incorporates snatches of French and internal rhyme; even her lively lists of dishes and descriptions of recipes reflect Child’s zest for life. In Bates’s pencil and watercolor illustrations, Parisian cafes spring to life, and so does Minette: she crouches and pounces while her human scuttles between pots and pans. In this way, Bates conveys the parallel, but often intersecting, existence of woman and cat. An afterword offers biographical information about Child and a photo of the kitty who inspired the book.

-Dorothy A. Dahm

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