The Search for Delicious

The Search for Delicious

by Natalie Babbitt

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429954945
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/15/2010
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 673,931
File size: 737 KB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Artist and writer Natalie Babbitt (1932–2016) is the award-winning author of the modern classic Tuck Everlasting and many other brilliantly original books for young people. As the mother of three small children, she began her career in 1966 by illustrating The Forty-Ninth Magician, written by her husband, Samuel Babbitt. She soon tried her own hand at writing, publishing two picture books in verse. Her first novel, TheSearch for Delicious, was published in 1969 and established her reputation for creating magical tales with profound meaning. Kneeknock Rise earned Babbitt a Newbery Honor in 1971, and she went on to write—and often illustrate—many more picture books, story collections,and novels. She also illustrated the five volumes in the Small Poems series by Valerie Worth. In 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture, and in 2016 a musical version premiered on Broadway. Born and raised in Ohio, Natalie Babbitt lived her adult life in the Northeast.
Artist and writer Natalie Babbitt (1932–2016) is the award-winning author of the modern classic Tuck Everlasting and many other brilliantly original books for young people. As the mother of three small children, she began her career in 1966 by illustrating The Forty-Ninth Magician, written by her husband, Samuel Babbitt. She soon tried her own hand at writing, publishing two picture books in verse. Her first novel, The Search for Delicious, was published in 1969 and established her reputation for creating magical tales with profound meaning. Kneeknock Rise earned Babbitt a Newbery Honor in 1971, and she went on to write—and often illustrate—many more picture books, story collections, and novels. She also illustrated the five volumes in the Small Poems series by Valerie Worth. In 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture, and in 2016 a musical version premiered on Broadway. Born and raised in Ohio, Natalie Babbitt lived her adult life in the Northeast.

Read an Excerpt


Search for Delicious
In his workroom at the top of the tower, DeCree, the Prime Minister, was pacing up and down. Occasionally he would pause, throw up his arms in a gesture of helplessness, and then resume his pacing. From her perch, his cockatoo watched with beady interest, turning her head this way and that as he crossed and recrossed before her."There will be civil war!" he burst out at last. "Splits, upheavals, and people taking sides! Smiles will be forgotten and spring will escape notice! Little flowers will push up, only to be trodden down, and birds will sing unheeded."From a pile of cushions in a corner of the room, his Special Assistant, a skinny, pleasant boy of twelve named Gaylen, put down the book he had been reading and frowned. "Civil war?" he said. "But why? What happened?""It was like this," said the Prime Minister, climbing onto the stool at his desk. "I went down, you see, to show the King how far I've gone on my dictionary. He was pleased with the first part. He liked 'Affectionate is your dog' and 'Annoying is a loose boot in a muddy place' and so on, and he smiled at 'Bulky is a big bag of boxes.' As a matter of fact, there was no trouble with any of the A's or B's and the C's were fine too, especially 'Calamitous is saying no to the King.' But then we got to 'Delicious is fried fish' and he said no, I'd have to change that. He doesn't care for fried fish. The General of the Armies was standing there and he said that, as far as he was concerned, Delicious is a mug of beer, and the Queen said no, Delicious is a Christmas pudding, and then the King said nonsense, everyone knew the most delicious thing is an apple, and they all began quarreling. Not just thethree of them--the whole court. When I left, they were all yelling and shouting and shaking their fists. The King and the General were glaring at each other, and the Queen was trying to get everyone to listen to the recipe for Christmas pudding.""That doesn't sound like civil war to me," said Gaylen, turning back to his book with a smile. "It only sounds silly.""Of course it's silly," said the Prime Minister impatiently. "But a lot of serious things start silly."Gaylen put his book down again and sighed. "Why don't you just leave Delicious out of the dictionary?""I can't do that," said the Prime Minister. "If this is going to be a proper dictionary, I can't leave anything out."At that moment there was a great racket in the courtyard below. Gaylen ran to the window and looked down. People were pouring out of the castle door to form a noisy ring around two men shoving each other about on the grass. After a moment, one knocked the other flat, shouted "Plums!" and strode triumphantly back inside, followed by the cheering crowd. The man who had been flattened swayed to his feet and went off muttering.The Prime Minister shook his head sadly. "Now here's a pretty kettle of fish," he said."Or apples," said Gaylen.THE SEARCH FOR DELICIOUS. Copyright © 1969 by Natalie Babbitt. All rights reserved. For information, address Square Fish, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

Customer Reviews

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The Search for Delicious 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
ranger_maiden More than 1 year ago
Back in elementary school, my reading level was kind of freakishly high, so my mom bought me this book as a challenge. I absolutely loved the medieval/fantasy setting. The fact that Babbitt was able to base a whole book off of the definition of a word was extremely interesting and original. I think that this book made me the voracious reader that I am now...and when I let my younger sister read it 3-5 years later, it became the first book that she really loved (and we NEVER have the same taste in books!). A very cute book that's great for anyone who loves words.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and i loved it! It just goes to show you the stupid things people can go to war for. Lighthearted fantasy that will keep you enteratained. Defenatly 5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This light-hearted book takes a young boy on a journey of a lifetime, only to found himself and where he belongs. It is also an eye-opener to the many little trival things we argue about everyday and there consequences. Is it really worth it, whether to be right or to gain power?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I must have read this book 40 times as a kid. Beautiful, sumptuous world, easy read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book five years ago, in fifth grade. It is still one of my favorite books, as familiar to me as Alice in Wonderland is widely known. It's a book to read when you need to get caught up in a story to escape the world. It's short enough to read in a few hours, yet long enough to take you on a journey for delicious.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got it at my school library and really liked it. I DO NOTwant to be rude but it is not my favorite. I really like Natilie Babbitt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent read the book yet but I was looking for this book forever! Also, plz read Kneeknock Rise I did it for a book report. I finished the book in an hour thats how awesome it was!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Funny story. It shows some stupid things people will go to war over, like some wars in the past.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a hooking pleasure about a young boy named Vaungaylen that runs into many adventures while finding the defintion of delicious for the Prime Minister's dictionary. It's definitely an exciting adventure itself that brings you on a journey through a whole new world!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is just fantastic. Filled with good, clean, keeping-you-rolling-on-the-floor humor, 'The Search For Delicious' will hold you enthralled to its wonderful end. I couldn't recommend this book high enough! If you're looking for something funny, you've found it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. I liked the plot the characters and the whole idea of someone taking a poll on a whole kingdom. It was a really fun book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I definatly loved this book. It has so much imagination and a fun type of mystery.
SarahEHWilson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this for class in 6th grade when nearly everyone else was shedding their childish delights; I was embarrassed to say how much I loved it. I found it again, almost by accident, years later while browsing in Barnes & Noble, and recognized the cover before I recognized the title. It was even better than I remembered: gentle but urgent, magical and yet dealing with the most fundamental of human urges--thirst.
BoundTogetherForGood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ah...the search for delicious...what a lovely quest to embark upon.The bulk of this quest is carried out by Vaungaylen. Gaylen, as he is known, was left by is mother, in a basket, at the gates of the castle. He was quickly adopted by Prime Minister DeCree. The Prime Minister began work on a dictionary when Gaylen was twelve years old.The King was quite pleased with the Prime Minister's progress:A: "He liked 'Affectionate is your dog'."B: "Bulky is a big bag of boxes."C: "Calamitous is saying no to the King."D: "Delicious is fried fish."But, no, that didn't please the king.The King thought apples should be declared the most delicious.It didn't please anyone else either.The Queen thought Christmas pudding.The Queen's trouble-maker brother piped up that his vote was for nuts.The General stated that a mug of beer is delicious.Gaylen was asked to set out around the kingdom gathering everyone's votes as to the best definition for "delicious".In a land where "nothing" belongs to the people and the world is filled with mermaids, woldwellers, and dwarves, a minor story is interwoven in the main one.Our little one (age five) and I have been reading this book for many months. She found it so interesting that she was able to remember very minor details of the story from one reading to the next. Today as I was writing this review she reminded me that someone had clearly affirmed a preference for "beer" as being delicious. Given that, I can say that this book can be used as a read-aloud selection for children as young as probably age four, perhaps a precocious age three. The first time I read this book it was to our two younger boys who were nearing ages seven and eight.Natalie Babbitt also wrote Tuck Everlasting which I read in August 2007 and again in April 2008. I'm not much of a rereader of books and there isn't a lot of time between those two readings. The prose with which she wrote Tuck Everlasting really satisfied me and so I returned to it very soon. The Disney film adaptation of Tuck Everlasting is also very well done. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~My Review of Tuck Everylasting by Natalie Babbitt
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book as part of a "literary discussion group" for my 5th grader's class. Each week the kids got together and discussed the reading. They had weekly assignments as well as a "discussion worksheet" that they filled out to help promote discussion. It was pretty cool to see these fifth graders start down the path of analyzing and really thinking about the books they were reading. Tons of fun.As to the book, it's an entertaining read with some interesting themes and principles. The high level summary is that the prime minister in a kingdom is trying to write a dictionary for the kingdom. With each definition, he provides an example. He's reached the word "Delicious" and everybody has a different opinion as to what truly exemplifies the word....apples, nuts, pies, etc. So, the young hero Gaylen is sent out into the kindgom to take a survey of every citizen and determine, by majority, what is the most delicious. The disagreements within the castle prove to have just been a microcosm of the kingdom at large and it quickly becomes evident that there won't be any common consensus. Added to the "delicious" problem, we have a power hungry man riding around the country stirring up trouble in hopes of eventually getting the kingdom for himself.An intriguing parallel story thread starts with a prologue in which we're given definitions of mystical/magical creatures who still exist but have been forgotten or ignored by humans. We're presented the story of a mermaid named Ardis who had a magical key that opened and closed the door of a house at the bottom of a lake. The key was taken from her by a human and has been lost forever. Throughout Gaylen's journey across the kingdom, he learns more about these mythical beings and the part they may still play in the kingdom.Overall, this was a fun and entertaining story. It's a simple tale easily accessible to children. And yet it has some themes and ideas that could be engaging to adults as well. It makes a point of showing how silly some of our arguments become and how outrageous our behavior is. It touches on the concepts of the creativity and imagination that's often lost as we transition from youth to adult.This is a fun fairy tale that can be enjoyed together by parents and children.****3.5 out of 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it so much! So creative and beautifully written! Highly reccomend!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Booooooo!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is so many things and people have to remember be,ut other than that i love it. It is so interesting and detailed i recommend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not actually read this book yet but I just completed a similar one. From what I can tell the book is based off the meaning if the word word. A similar book, one I just completed, was called rump. Rump is about the meaning of a name basicaly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It is really good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book in my guided reading class and it is good but seriously they are fighting over the defonition of the word delicious. The other people who are reading this in my guided reading group are, Jack , Ava, Nicolas, and Greg. Also these are prople including myself who go to Eisenhower Elementary , Camp Hill PA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello