Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed his Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service

Annette Bay Pimentel tells the story of Tie Sing, who was instrumental in making sure that Stephen Mathers’ guests were well fed along their journey through what is now Sequoia National Park.  Besides Mathers, the guests were not accustomed to the great outdoors and Mathers saw it as crucial that they enjoy comforts along the way in order to enjoy and identify the importance of protection of the parks.  Tie Sing was the most famous trail cook and he wasn’t cooking up hot dogs and beans.  He created gourmet cuisine for Mathers and his guests.  Pimentel lets the story unfold, revealing the mishaps along the way that highlighted Tie Sing’s quick thinking and ability to improvise to save the day!  

Mountain Chef includes maps on the endpapers which show the route that was taken by Mathers, Tie Sing, and the campers.  I always find maps to be helpful, most often in the sheer enormity of the trip and the undertaking that was involved with cooking meals along the way.

Rich Lo’s illustrations show the majesty of Sequoia National Park and his paintings highlight facial expression both joy and also frustration that bordered on exasperation and body language.  His illustrations also identify that this trip was both a joint excursion and also a separate endeavor.  For example when Tie Sing and Eugene were traveling along the trail by Rattlesnake Creek and lost even more of their food and supplies, I’d imagine they felt desperation.  But Tie Sing was able to improvise a meal that the men loved despite all the roadblocks.  

Mountain Chef includes a section called “What You May Be Wondering” and I found it very helpful as a reader with more questions.  Only so much can be conveyed in a picture book and having this type of note for the reader is a real bonus.  Source Notes and a Selected Bibliography will also help readers identify more sources of information.

Title:  Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed his Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service
Author: Annette Bay Pimentel
Illustrator: Rich Lo
Published 2016 by Charlesbridge
ISBN: 9781580897112

This copy was received from the publisher for review.

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