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Reviewed by Savannah Aldridge for Readers' Favorite
Appalachian heritage, family bonds, and culinary adventure meet in Pawpaw is My Favorite Flavor! by Kaitlin Kulich and Laura Dobrota. Henry is excited about the possibilities of learning as he travels to Athens, Ohio to visit his grandpa. Once there, Grandpa shows Henry an odd-shaped tree containing the fruit that Grandpa insists is his favorite flavor. Henry is initially apprehensive, for although the history of the pawpaw is fascinating, the pawpaw tree smells funny. But after Henry and Grandpa concoct dessert from the fruit, Henry finds that their love of pawpaw is one more thing they can share.
As an Appalachian myself, I loved seeing my food, insects, and home on the pages of Pawpaw is My Favorite Flavor! It is rare to see Appalachian culture depicted with tenderness and respect, but these values shine through Henry and Grandpa’s relationship with one another and the world around them. Kaitlin Kulich brings important, yet subtle lessons to this children’s story. I appreciated that Henry was honest about the foul scent of the pawpaw tree but still gave the fruit a try. What a great way to show how those initial impressions are worth pushing past for a new experience. Laura Dobrota’s illustrations perfectly complement the story, bringing to life the joy of the characters and the vibrant fall foliage that any Appalachian will recognize in an instant. Best of all, this book contains a surprise recipe that readers can make with pawpaw at home.