Review: (K-Grade 5) - It’s 1801 and the good people of Cheshire, Massachusetts are proud of one thing; “Cheshire Cheese, the best you can serve at your table.” When the townsfolk hear that their cheese mongering title is threatened, Elder John convinces his fellow citizens to pull together to make a gigantic cheese and deliver it to President Thomas Jefferson for his New Year’s Day banquet. Everyone, the ladies, little children and the good gentlemen of the town pull together in a massive effort to turn a river of milk into curds and press those curds into delicious cheese. Everyone, except the cynical Phineas Dobbs is working hard while he simply states that it can’t be done. In the end, Elder John recruits Dobbs and they escort the twelve hundred and thirty-five pound cheese by sleigh and boat and until they reach Washington, D. C. Using a combination of watercolor and pen and ink, Schindler makes each scene come alive and the reader can feel the excitement as a group of nine men wrestle with a the apple press to make the cheese or experience the pageantry through a double page spread featuring an Army band, waving citizens and a triumphant Elder John standing in front of a giant cheese straining against its ropes. Fleming provides a nice final word about the background of the story on the last page. His attention to historical detail through dialogue and the storyline should help to inspire further study on the time period, which would make this a safe selection for any educator hoping to incorporate a little humor into a history lesson.
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