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My Chocolate Year by Charlotte Herman, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

February 22nd, 2008 (06:32 pm)
thirsty
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Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Without a Trace score music

In 1946, ten year old Dorrie enters a new school year with pep in her step. She is made all the more giddy at the prospect of the Sweet Semester, a tradition established by her teacher in which her students bake up a little something. Dorrie plans to make something involving chocolate, but what? Throughout the story, Dorrie tests out different recipes, listens carefully to the immigration stories of her parents and relatives, and melts at the sight of the perfect junior bridesmaid dress.

Dorrie is surrounded by friends and family. Her mother lovingly makes her special dress for her Aunt Esther's wedding. Her father works for a mattress company because, as a young boy during the war, he had to wear his day clothes to bed in case of evacuation and he dreamt of sleeping in pajamas. Her grandmother speaks only in Yiddish and Dorrie only in English, but they understand each other quite well. Rounding out the cast are Dorrie's older brother Artie, her best friend Sunny, Uncle Louie the hopeful business owner, and her cousin Victor, who lost his immediate family and was labeled a DP (a displaced person) in his home country, but is now coming to America.

My Chocolate Year by Charlotte Herman includes twelve recipes and is peppered with black-and-white illustrations by LeUyen Pham. It is a sweet story for elementary school readers and was partly inspired by the author's own family and childhood.

This review was also posted at YA Books Central.