The Search for Delicious
by Natalie Babbitt
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, Gaylan, to poll the citizenry. Gaylan soon discovers that the entire kingdom is on the brink of civil war, and must enlist help to define “delicious” and save the country.
Prime Minister DeCree was asked to create a dictionary for the kingdom, but the castle people like the King, Queen and the General of Armies debated when they arrived at the word “delicious”. They thought fried fish, a mug of beer and Christmas pudding, but in the end all of them were doubtful and unconvinced. TO avoid the Civil War, the Prime Minister tasked his skinny assistant Gayle as a messenger to ask everyone outside the kingdom about their opinion with the word – delicious.
But what Gayle discovered was more than he had asked about. His quest led him to a wise old creature, also called a woldweller (I myself have to look it up in the dictionary, to no avail) and Gayle also met a minstrel, a mermaid and dwarfs… And soon he met Ardis, the girl who was destined to save the entire kingdom from treason.
This paperback has been on my shelf for a decade now, but tonight was the first time my fifth grader had read it. He pondered about the wit of the creatures in the book, the realization of an imminent war instituted by the King’s own blood relation and the complexity and grave dangers that a simple word can cause. I was astounded by my son’s comprehension of this book. We both think that this was an exciting and magical book perfect for kids who want to learn more about decisions, cooperation, accomplishments and dedication. A highly recommended read!