Cover image for A big cheese for the White House : the true tale of a tremendous cheddar
A big cheese for the White House : the true tale of a tremendous cheddar
Fleming, Candace.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : DK Pub., 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 23 x 29 cm
In 1801, in Chesire, Massachusetts, Elder John Leland organizes his fellow townspeople to make a big cheese for President Jefferson who up until that time had been forced to eat inferior cheeses.
Reading Level:
AD 450 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.1 0.5 36232.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.5 2 Quiz: 20968.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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In 1801, the proud citizens of Cheshire, Massachusetts, boasted that their cheese was the very best. But then they heard the shocking news: President Jefferson was serving Norton cheese at the White House! What to do? Elder John Leland had an idea. A very large idea. If everyone worked together, they could make a cheese so large that President Jefferson would be serving Cheshire cheese at the White House for years to come. How the villagers of Cheshire create a true cheese-making miracle and transport it to the nation's capitol makes a spirited, rollicking tale.

Based on a true moment in American history, this funny picture book celebrates the ingenuity and community spirit of one small New England town as it attempts to make the country's biggest cheese for the nation's greatest man.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. It sounds like a tall tale, but it's true--well, almost. In 1801 the citizens of Cheshire, Massachusetts, made a cheese that weighed 1,235 pounds and stood four-feet high, which they delivered to President Jefferson in Washington as a New Year's Day gift. Fleming says in her historical note that the events are true but that some of the characters are not. One of her best fictional figures is the town grouser, doubting Phineas Dobbs, who is sure at every stage--whether it's collecting the milk, pressing the cheese, or transporting the gigantic offering by wagon and ship--that the task cannot be done: "I told you it couldn't be done." Schindler's lively period illustrations, in pen and watercolor with delicate cross-hatching, express the wry characterizations and triumphant larger-than-life action of the ordinary people, who take their place in the history books when they send their big cheese to Jefferson's table.-- Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

As she did in The Hatmaker's Sign, Fleming once again parlays a little-known historical nugget into a diverting picture book. In the late 19th century, the folks of Cheshire, Mass., a locale known for its delectable cheddar, grow mighty disgruntled when they learn that President Thomas Jefferson is offering cheese from a Connecticut town to his White House visitors. The Cheshire residents band together to produce a gigantic wheel of cheese that will catch the Chief's eye and please his palate for years. They gather produce from every milk-yielding bovine in nearby pastures into a "cow-created river," a large apple press squeezes whey from the curds and the village blacksmith pounds out an enormous hoop to hold the 1235-pound, four-foot-high cheese. A town elder, accompanied by the cranky local naysayer transports the formidable fromage by sleigh and ship to the White House, where Jefferson "cut into the cheddar's golden glory." With his finely detailed, droll pen and watercolor pictures, Schindler, who collaborated with Fleming on Madame LaGrande and Her So High, to the Sky, Uproarious Pompadour, wryly captures both the period flavor and tall-tale tone of the story. A satisfying, well-aged slice of American lore. Ages 6-10. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-A little-known piece of American history is at the center of this humorous story. When the people of Cheshire, MA, hear that President Jefferson is eating cheddar made in Norton, CT, instead of their own, they decide to do something about it. Against all odds, they make a 1235-pound wheel of cheese and ship it to the president, who declares it the best that he has ever tasted, puts it in the record books, and serves it until it finally goes bad. Using a cast of amusing characters that include little Humphrey Crock, who is good at arithmetic; Elder John, the real-life mastermind of the scheme; and the doubting Phineas Dobbs, who scoffs every step of the way, Fleming makes this strange bit of history interesting and funny. Each of the characters has a distinct personality, and the watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations bring all of them to life. Schindler's detailed, cartoonlike artwork integrates well with the witty text. An author's note separates fact from fiction and explains what happened next. This book would be a great choice for classroom units on history, world records, cheese making, or even on succeeding at something that seems impossible. It's also a good bet for anyone looking to liven up historical fiction collections for the younger set.-Amy Lilien-Harper, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.