The Truffle Hunter
Ages 4 and up
Kane Miller, 1999, 0-916291-92-8
Martine is a pig whose job is to find truffles, very special mushrooms which grow underground between the roots of oak trees. The problem is that Martine has no idea what a truffle is, what it smells like even. Her master, Cesar, had taken her to the forest to find truffles three times so far without any luck and this time, the fourth time, was just as fruitless.
In a rage Cesar drives off and leaves Martine in the woods all alone. At least she thinks she is alone until she meets another pig, or at least something that looks like a pig. Raoul is, in fact, a wild boar and he soon shows Martine where truffles are to be found. Now Martine can fully appreciate what all the fuss is about for truffles are wonderful, the most delicious things she has ever eaten.
Now that she knows how to hunt truffles Martine is determined to show Cesar what she can do and she sets off home to prove that she is not "a dunce" but a bona fide truffle hunter.
With lusciously evocative illustrations, this book not only gives us a picture of French life but it also illustrates how important it is to discover ones place in the world. Martine the pig discovers that life in the town, as a truffle hunter for a chef, may not in fact be the place where she belongs and she has to take courage and seek out her own destiny.
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