The Search for Delicious
Author: Natalie Babbitt; Illustrated by the author
Natalie Babbit's memorable first novel, The Search for Delicious, about a boy who nearly causes a civil war in the kingdom all because of his work on the royal dictionary.
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.
Featured in 4 episodes as part of the Jackanory BBC children's television series.
In The News
“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