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The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt

The Search for Delicious (1969)

by Natalie Babbitt

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1,2161510,056 (3.96)31

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
In a tiny medieval kingdom, Gaylen (12) is sent on a mission to poll every citizen on what food they find most delicious because a dictionary is being written, and no one can agree on what best exemplifies "delicious." Gaylen is plagued by Hemlock, the villain, who it turns out is planning to overthrow the king. A few fantasy creatures are involved as well.
We don't get to know Gaylen well enough to make him a strong character. The "search for delicious" plot and the "overthrow the kingdom" plot don't mesh together well. Nobody really learns any lessons.
The story is well told, but it comes across as a forgettable fairy tale that would have been better abridged to 20 pages and read as a bedtime story for a 6 year old. ( )
  fingerpost | May 31, 2017 |
This was probably a re-read. I'd be willing to bet I read this when I was a child. But I'm not sure... and upon this read I'm not surprised... it is delightful, with adventure and humor, word-play and satire and a quest and lessons learned.... but it's just not all that memorable. The characters aren't very rich, and the adventure seems fairly predictable.

I suggest reading it more than once within the space of a year or two, not over decades. That way you'll give it a chance to work its way into your heart & memory. [b:Tuck Everlasting|84981|Tuck Everlasting|Natalie Babbitt|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1311978194s/84981.jpg|1955922] is, of course, better. And some of Babbitt's others are better, too. And yes I do definitely recommend this to true fans of the author. But I won't push it on everyone who's ever liked a fairy tale or children's fantasy. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
DeCree, the prime minister, has been working on compiling a dictionary. His definition of "delicious"--"delicious is fried fish"--has stirred up strong disagreement in the king's castle. DeCree's young assistant Gaylen is sent out to poll the kingdom to find out what food the people think is delicious. The queen's brother Hemlock intentionally rides ahead of Gaylen to stir the pot, so to speak, about the poll. By the time Gaylen reaches the other towns, everyone is up in arms which falls into Hemlock's plan to wage war and take over the King. What may stymie his plans is a mermaid named Ardis and a special key to an underground house where Ardis' beloved doll is trapped.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I liked parts of this book. The idea of a boy going on a mission to poll all residents of the kingdom to make a dictionary entry for the word delicious is clever. However, I didn't like when all these other things entered into the story with a mermaid that lost her doll and a key and a lake...it had all the elements of a nice fairy tale with a good moral lesson, but somehow I don't feel like it all came together. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
I hated this book. But, that is a good thing, in this case. I was caught up in the story and characters and hated the way they acted. Imagine - a dictionary full of cliches instead of actual word meanings! As a child, it offended my sense of logic and still does as an adult. ( )
  empress8411 | Nov 29, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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I would like to thank Grace C. Root for the help she gave me in identifying the trees and plants, birds and fishes which decorate this story. Which also means that I would like to thank her for her interest and her friendship. The reader would have a duller story and I a duller life without her.
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[Prologue] There was a time once when the earth was still very young, a time some call the oldest days. This was long before there were any people about to dig parts of it up and cut parts of it off. People came along much later, building their towns and castles (which nearly always fell down after a while) and plaguing each other with quarrels and supper parties.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312369824, Paperback)

Gaylen, the King’s messenger, a skinny boy of twelve, is off to poll the kingdom, traveling from town to farmstead to town on his horse, Marrow. At first it is merely a question of disagreement at the royal castle over which food should stand for Delicious in the new dictionary. But soon it seems that the search for Delicious had better succeed if civil war is to be avoided.

     Gaylen’s quest leads him to the woldweller, a wise, 900-year-old creature who lives alone at the precise center of the forest; to Canto, the minstrel who sings him an old song about a mermaid child and who gives him a peculiar good-luck charm; to the underground domain of the dwarfs; and finally to Ardis who might save the kingdom from havoc.
The Search for Delicious is a 1969 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The Prime Minister is compiling a dictionary and when no one at court can agree on the meaning of delicious, the King sends his twelve-year-old messenger to poll the country.

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