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The Search for Delicious

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,405 ratings  ·  349 reviews
The Prime Minister is compiling a dictionary, and when no one at court can agree on the meaning of "delicious," the King sends his twelve-year-old messenger, Gaylan, to poll the citizenry. Gaylan soon discovers that the entire kingdom is on the brink of civil war, and must enlist help to define "delicious" and save the country.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 8th 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 1969)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,405 ratings  ·  349 reviews

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Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this book as part of a "literary discussion group" for my 5th grader's class. Each week the kids got together and discussed the reading. They had weekly assignments as well as a "discussion worksheet" that they filled out to help promote discussion. It was pretty cool to see these fifth graders start down the path of analyzing and really thinking about the books they were reading. Tons of fun.

As to the book, it's an entertaining read with some interesting themes and principles. The high l
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Babbitt can do better, iirc. But even young me would have found the problem, and the solution of the quest, ridiculous. And some kids might get the impression that the world is even scarier than it really is, because adults are even stupider than they really are. Still, some lovely bits, an enchanting vibe, and delightful pen & ink drawings by the author.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Caroline
I didn't realize how much I was hankering for a good old-fashioned fairy tale until I started reading this book. There was so much I loved about "The Search for Delicious."

"There was a time once when the earth was still very young, a time some call the oldest days. This was long before there were any people about to dig parts of it up and cut parts of it off. People came along much later, building their towns and castles (which nearly always fell down after a while) and plaguing each other with
I enjoyed the writing style a lot more than I expected. While the premise seems ridiculous, the story had more substance than just adults being stupid. It showcased how propaganda could lead to rebellion and civil war. I also liked the ancient beings and their resulting indifference to the people around them. Gaylen didn’t grow much as a character, but he wasn’t annoying, which is a plus!
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Amazing! At first it gets "BORING" but if you read it, it is very, very, very, worth reading! I guess i'll rate it 4 :)
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked The Search for Delicious it was funny and exciting .
Angie Fehl
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twelve year old Gaylen is an assistant to the Prime Minister in a fantastical medieval era England. The king, on the recommendation of his PM, chooses Gaylen to go on a journey to survey all the kingdom's residents, asking them what's the most wonderful food they can think of. The most common answer will be chosen as the synonym / definition of delicious in the kingdom dictionary. Problem is, no two people seem to give Gaylen the same answer, so how is he to choose? While on his journey, Gaylen ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
My 14 year old daughter found this on a shelf and had vague memories of hearing me read it years ago. It was a fun departure from our more serious, academically motivated read alouds. A sweet story about the importance of both language and water, topics close to our family's hearts. The vocabulary was not challenging for a 14 year old, though we renewed familiarity with 'lithe' and 'zephyr' and touched on spelling a bit as we went. I would recommend it as a fabulous family read-aloud for any abl ...more
Jennifer Lavoie
A wonderful tale about how everyone can come together and agree on something, even if originally they disagreed. In this story, Gaylen, a young boy, is sent to poll the kingdom on what the meaning of delicious is. Since everyone has a different opinion, fights often break out. But in the end, it's someone who previously had no voice that makes a difference, just by sharing the joy of water.

And after reading this and thinking about a long drive I had yesterday, it's very true. Nothing is more de
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
3.5 rating

I really enjoyed the fantasy and fairy tale elements and how the plot progressed. The writing was also lovely and embodied the fairy tale atmosphere. I don't really have much to say about this book other than that it was a fun read, but I felt that the cause and catalyst for the progression of the plot was a little too silly for me. I would highly recommend this to any child or middle grade reader.
Allison Tebo
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A nice fun little story with a delightful quirkiness and intriguing plotting, but somehow a little lackluster. Overall, a nice read.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
We read this once for third grade Language Arts, and I thought it was the one of the greatest books in the world. I still love this book, it is definitely one to read again and again.
I enjoyed Natalie Babbitt's fantasy about a kingdom where mythological creatures hide away from ignorant and contentious humans and where a 12-year-old boy bridges the divide.

The orphan Galen loves the Prime Minister who raised him and is a loyal subject of the King, so he doesn't hesitate when the King bids him take a poll of everyone in the Kingdom about what is the most delicious thing in the world. He soon learns that in his land there is no tolerance for diversity of tastes. No one can agre
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: k-scifi-fantasy
Rating: 3.5 stars

Affectionate is your dog,
Annoying is a loose boot in a muddy place ...
Bulky is a big bag of boxes ...
Delicious is fried fish

Fried fish! Delicious? I think not. Every person had a different opinion. So exactly what is delicious? In the search for delicious, 12-yo Gaylen sets off on a quest, which of course consists of a series of adventures.

One take-home lesson: Wars can start because of misunderstandings and/or for ridiculous reasons.
Jenna (JenTheLibrarian)
This was a lovely and enjoyable read, but nothing about it really wowed me. I really liked the writing style and the way the story was told, but I don’t see this book really sticking with me in any significant way. I’d recommend it to someone who’s looking for a short and sweet fantasy, and to most younger readers who like fantasy/adventure quest stories.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
kesinlikle okuduğum en güzel Babbit buydu, nefis
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Good luck, Gaylen, and I'll send my cockatoo after you with the news each Wednesday and Saturday."
Milanie Howard
I loved this book when I was a kid, and, really, what's not to love? A boy on a quest, mythical creatures, a magic spring, and the happiest of endings -- all make for worthwhile adventure. But beyond that, the book illustrates all the worst and best of human behavior, suspicion and kindness, anger and innocence, and the consequences of letting fear dictate our thoughts and actions. A war begun for silly reasons is as destructive and dangerous as a war begun for a righteous cause. Or maybe the le ...more
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-classics
This book is one of the best things I read as an older child. I picked it up once out of a box of books a neighbor had given us when they moved. I figured it would just be a quick read to occupy my time during a long summer. However, I was quite surprised by what it held inside.

The Search for Delicious is the tale of a nation torn apart by a simple definition. They are creating a dictionary for their nation to use and while things had gone fine for a while, the definition of "delicious" had cre
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I probably could have stuck with 3 stars and still made this an honest review. But guess what? I love this style of writing so much it's nice to find an example of it that genuinely works. I was willing to give Babbitt another chance after Tuck disappointed me greatly, and she delivered what just may be my ideal example of pleasure reading: an unusual fantasy that doesn't have any roots in reality (perhaps some sly parody of war) and doesn't at all take itself seriously. The wit and descriptive ...more
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
If it wasn't for Sister Willburn, I'm sure I would just think this was a fun book with an interesting plot. But since this was one of the books I had to read for English this year, I got to hear all of her wonderful insights on it. Natalie Babbitt's messages about religion and education were really profound(although they reminded me a lot of Ben, ha, ha).

Summary: Gaylen, the adopted son of the prime minister, sets off on a journey to poll the kingdom to find out the true meaning of the word "del
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In The Search for Delicious, the Prime Minister of the kingdom is writing a dictionary. The King approves for it except for "Delicious is fried fish". The kings thinks apple are delicious and the queen thinks Christmas pudding is delicious. Soon, the whole town is arguing about what is the most delicious food. The King decides to send the Prime Minister's son Vaungaylen to go to all the people in the kingdom and take a poll. Vaungaylen does-and he goes through many adventures along the way.
I rea
Jen Jen
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
We listened to this book on tape while on a family vacation. It was relatively short (less than 3 hours) and there was a mystery to be solved so it kept people looking for clues. I also liked the redeeming message. The main character goes through a sort of hero journey through the country trying to find the definition of the word delicious. He comes to know and love the people of the land so he is willing to work to protect the people from a man who is trying to lead the country into civil war. ...more
This is the second book I have read by Natalie Babbitt. Tuck Everlasting was the first book I read by her, which we read last year during fifth grade. Like Tuck Everlasting, I really enjoyed this fantastical story about a young man sent on a journey by the king. Mythical characters include dwarfs, a mermaid, and a strange little creature called a woldweller. I would recommend this book to someone who likes action, adventure, fantasy, and friendship. I found the story engaging and the book very r ...more
Nathaniel Hardman
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's been almost 20 years since I read this! I remember that one weekend I was supposed to read the first few chapters so we could discuss it in my third or fourth-grade class, and instead, I read the entire thing in one sitting. Not much of the book has stuck with me, but I remember a character going kind of crazy and throwing nuts around (was his name Hemlock?). Mostly, I remember the conclusion - what they finally all agree on as being truly delicious. It's a very satisfying answer that I won ...more
R. G. Nairam
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quirky, own
April 2014 review:

This is a book that my family discovered via an audio recording. We only listened to it once or twice, and for the most part forgot about it. I found it in a used bookstore and picked it up--my siblings were excited too!

I just re-read it. It's a very delightful, simply-told story that says a lot about humanity, good and bad. Technically it's exaggerated and would never happen but it's also about what happens all of the time. Like most fairy-tales, I guess.

I really enjoy it.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juliana Haught
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a charming, wonderful story. I read this out loud to my family while we were on a long car trip, and everyone enjoyed it. A young boy is charged with a task for his King, and on his journey he meets magical beings and deal with unreasonable people. We had lots of laughs, and there are many touching moments. This is one the kids kept pondering after we were all done with it.
Mar 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales
What a fabulous little book! This would make a great movie. Gaylen, the Prime Minister's assistant, is assigned the task of polling the kingdom to discover what food is most delicious. This task leads him to meet strange beings and to accomplish something even greater. Enjoy!
Rosalind Spell
Thank you, Ms. Keebler, for reading this to us in 2nd grade, with your sparkly red chair and your Tab. Every day, we waited to hear what delicious truly was. And it is.
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Natalie Babbitt was an American writer and illustrator of children's books. She attended Laurel School for Girls, and then Smith College. She had 3 children and was married to Samuel Fisher Babbitt. She was the grandmother of 3 and lived in Rhode Island.
She was a board member of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance a national not-for-profit that actively advocates for literacy, liter
“That doesn't sound like civil war to me," said Gaylen, turning back to his book with a smile. "It only sounds silly."

"Of course it's silly," said the Prime Minister impatiently. "But a lot of serious things start silly.”
“They've really begun the war," he said to himself. "And all over a word in a dictionary, the ninnies!” 3 likes
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