Peyton Picks the Perfect Pie: A Thanksgiving Celebration

America’s Test Kitchen. Sept. 2020. 32p. ed. by America’s Test Kitchen, ed. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781948703260.
Gr 2-4–Young Peyton has been labeled a picky eater by her parents, Peter and Penny. Longing to rid herself of that unflattering adjective, Peyton pledges to sample every pie that is brought to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Peyton’s promise to herself turns out to be a daunting challenge. Her friends and relatives are adventurous bakers who arrive with Chess pie, a French galette, Mississippi Mud, a ruffled milk pie, and more gourmet desserts. Despite having a relatively simple and common concept, the story takes as much time setting up the conflict as it spends detailing each family member’s arrival. Plot-wise, little happens other than family after family presenting different varieties of pie. The text is very wordy; each page is packed with dialogue or reiteration of what is shown on the page. On the other hand, Nutter’s rich palette is autumnal without being monochromatic. Pies look delectable, and as much color and detail is given to the people as the pastries. So many kinds of families are present: non-white families, mixed-race families, queer families. Peyton herself is biracial with brown skin and natural hair. And there are no penalties for arriving at Thanksgiving alone, or even with a store-bought dessert. All are welcome at this table. In the end, Peyton learns to appreciate new things and is taught a new philosophy of life by her aunt. Plus, back matter includes a recipe for “Best-Ever Apple Pie” made with store-bought crust.
VERDICT Beautiful art and sensitivity to diversity and difference overcomes the staleness of the story; this is a celebration of food and family for any collection needing a refreshingly modern Thanksgiving treatment.

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