Cover image for How sweet it is (and was): the history of candy
How sweet it is (and was): the history of candy
Swain, Ruth Freeman.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, 2003.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations; 27 cm
Provides a brief history of a variety of candies and chewing gum. Includes recipes for sugar paste, fudge, and taffy.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 6.0 0.5 69600.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library TX792 .S92 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area

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Can you imagine Valentine's Day without chocolate hearts, Halloween without candy corn, Christmas without candy canes, or Hanukkah without chocolate coins? Candy has always played an important and mouthwatering part in holiday celebrations as well as day-to-day life. Here is a collection of little-known facts, including how many kinds of candy came to be.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 1-3. Sugary sweets have delighted humans since ancient times. Serving up a tasty smorgasbord of facts, Swain's illustrated history of candy is presented in rough chronological order. Unfortunately, sections on subjects from Elizabethan sweetmeats to maple sugaring to South American chocolate production have no real transitions to bind them, creating a somewhat disjointed text. Also, the anecdotes, stemming from different eras and countries, are not fleshed out adequately to stick in the minds (or teeth) of readers. Happily, the delightfully absurd, crosshatched illustrations comically exaggerate the stories and enliven the book considerably. The history closes with short and sweet facts about sugar and its consumption, a bibliography, a candy time line (from 1493, when Columbus brought sugarcane seedlings to the Americas on his second voyage, to 1999, when radio lollipops were invented), and recipes for items such as Vasser Fudge. Much like candy itself, a nonessential treat. --Karin Snelson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Swain's (Hairdo!) anecdotal, accessible examination of candy serves up tempting nuggets but coats its appealing topic in occasionally artificial trappings. Its protracted introductory passages, for example, contain such filler as "Store shelves are filled with bright, shiny packages of candy in mouthwatering flavors and crazy, new shapes. Candy companies work hard to get you to buy their brand of candy." The historical discussion includes more newsworthy items: traders and knights returning from the Crusades brought sugar to Europe in the Middle Ages; when Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes demanded to see the Aztecs' treasure, he was given not gold but chocolate, which he brought back to his homeland. The prose, however, can be awkward: "India is where sugarcane was growing when people there first learned how to take the sweet juice from the tall canes"; "Maple sugaring has been a happy time for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years for people living in the northeastern United States." Luckily, O'Brien's (Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who?) characteristically quirky illustrations are consistently delectable, presenting such droll images as a woman pushing a Baby Ruth bar in a pram and a startled Goldilocks lying in bed as three Gummi Bears stand in the doorway. A timeline and three recipes (for sugar paste, fudge and taffy) are included. Ages 6-9. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-From information about the ancient Egyptians to modern Danes, who each consume an average of 36 pounds of sweets per year, this work is packed with savory tidbits that will keep readers turning pages. Those familiar with the author's Hairdo!: What We Do and Did to Our Hair (Holiday, 2002) will immediately recognize the format. The trivia is presented quickly and loosely in chronological and geographical order. Swain begins with the origin of the word "candy"-from the Arabic "qandi" which in turn has an Indian Sanskrit background. From here the history moves to ancient Egyptians and Romans, Europeans of the Middle Ages, Native Americans who favored maple syrup, Queen Elizabeth I, who ruined her teeth with "kissing comfits" and "dry suckets," Mayans who held the real treasure (chocolate), and 19th-century "penny candy." Not to be overlooked are modern giants like Milton Hershey and Gummy Worms. To continue the sweet thoughts, there are three recipes: Sugar Paste (a 20th-century adaptation of a 16th- and 17th-century recipe), Vassar Fudge (definitely higher education), and "Belly-guts" Taffy (the strands look like what hung in butcher shops). O'Brien's colorful cartoon drawings take the text to a new and funnier level. This is a nonfiction treat that youngsters will enjoy with their dentists' blessings.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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