The Search for Delicious

Natalie Babbitt; Illustrated by the author

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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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.

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Book Excerpts

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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.

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Praise for The Search for Delicious

“Spirited and humorous, sensitive without ever being sad.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Fantasy-adventure that’s as fresh and sparkling as spring water. It’s truly delicious.”—The New York Times

“The writing is distinguished by an immediate clarity and true poetry. . . . A wholly delightful story.”—The Horn Book Magazine

“The definition of this well-constructed story, combining fine imagery, humor, strong characterizations, legend, and an unobtrusive theme of good versus evil is: a good book for children hungry for light entertainment.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review

“Here is a beguiling tale, here is a story perfectly suited for reading in the still of an endless summer twilight.”—Publishers Weekly

“Fresh and imaginative, this play on words and on human foibles is a welcome and happy book.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A made-up fairy tale that works. . . . This one is for kids who thrive on the discovery of new words.”—McCall’s

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Natalie Babbitt; Illustrated by the author

A gifted artist and writer, Natalie Babbitt is the award-winning author of the modern classic Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Kneeknock Rise and many other brilliantly original books for young people. She began her career in 1966 as the illustrator of The Forty-ninth Magician, a collaboration with her husband. When her husband became a college president and no longer had time to collaborate, Babbitt tried her hand at writing. The Search for Delicious was her first novel and established her gift for writing magical tales with profound meaning. Kneeknock Rise earned her a Newbery Honor Medal, and in 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture. Natalie Babbitt lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and is a grandmother of three.

Natalie Babbitt


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Available Formats and Book Details

The Search for Delicious
Natalie Babbitt; Illustrated by the author


New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Books of the Year, Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429954945
ISBN10: 1429954949
Middle-Grade Fiction176 pages
Age Range: 8 to 12
Grade Range: 3 to 7

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Square Fish
August 2007
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312369828
ISBN10: 0312369824
Middle-Grade Fiction
5 3/16 x 7 5/8 inches, 192 pages, Includes black-and-white illustrations
Age Range: 8 to 12
Grade Range: 3 to 7 Information for Librarians

Information for Librarians

Lexile: 910LL
F&P Level A-Z: U
AR Quiz Number: 5042
AR Points: 4


From The Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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