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What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street? by Felicita Sala

Sala’s book dedication reads, “For my mother, whose door is always open, whose table is always full.” This serves as the prelude to a beautiful book about bringing people together to share a meal. Lead by the smells of cooking wafting from the windows, the text offers a peek inside each inhabitant’s unit of a grand building. The crisp pages are formatted in a double-page layout, with one page illustrating the homeowner cooking his/her specialty and the other page showcasing the accompanying recipe and ingredients. The reader meets Pilar cooking Salmorego, Maria mashing avocados, Mister Melville using his angle to cut into sole meuniere, and Miss Ishida preparing oyakodon, as well as several other occupants at 10 Garden Street. On the final pages, all of the cooks contribute their masterpieces and share a lovely, global dinner in their back garden.

Teacher thoughts:

This text is both a cookbook and a story. It would serve as a springboard for a class discussion about genre and/or author’s purpose.

Sala’s illustrations are detailed and impactful in terms of understanding the text far beyond the written text.

Analysis of the setting of 10 Garden Street illustrates the role of time and place for a narrative.  How would this plot thrive in a different setting?

Generating possible themes for this text could lead to conversations about personal connections and/or compare/contrast of similar texts.

Child thoughts:

Little trees? That looks like broccoli to me!

I don’t know what that means. It must be one of these foods (points to ingredients). 

How is this building organized? Do they have their own door?

Is it someone’s birthday?  What are they doing?

Oh — it’s kind of like Stone Soup!

Everything is ready. It’s time to go downstairs. 

Pull up a chair and grab a plate!

Everybody’s welcome at 10 Garden Street.

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