The Stunning Sensory Language in PEACHES by Gabriele Davis and Kim Holt

PEACHES by Gabriele Davis and Kim Holt tells the story of a little girl attempting to surprise her father with a homemade peach cobbler. This isn’t just any cobbler, though. This is the recipe her mother loved to make before she passed away. This tale of the way food creates new memories and tugs old ones to the surface is beautifully complemented by Kim Holt’s warm illustrations of a loving family sharing a treasured tradition.

One of the many things I love about PEACHES is the stunning language that makes me ache for a ripe, golden peach right this very minute. Lyrical language in a picture book can be tricky to pull off. I love a beautifully-crafted, metaphor-adorned line. But when I am reading to 25 six-year-olds, it’s a drag to have to stop and explain every third word. In PEACHES, you get beautiful sentence after beautiful sentence that children can both understand and savor. Every word is as juicy and delicious as its subject. Let’s take a look.

The story begins, “Sundays begin with picking. With me and Grandma, straw hats tilted to tease the sun, walking side by side into our orchard. Rosy-ripe peaches dipping low to the ground, sun-warmed and soft like Grandma’s lap.” From the very first page, you know you are in good hands. The writing takes us right into the orchard, with a loving Grandma, and branches heavy with fruit.

I think part of what makes the lyrical language work so well in this book is that it is rooted in the senses, grounding the child listener in something tangible and clear. As the little girl and her grandmother bite into the fresh-picked peaches, we read, “Peach juice drip, drip, dripping, down our chins, over our hands, trickling down our arms. Soft pulp sliding down our throats like honey.” Is your mouth watering yet? Can you fill the stickiness on your skin?

This tactile experience takes center stage in the baking scenes, too. When the narrator bakes with Grandma, there is “Tossing, stirring, mixing, kneading. A pinch of this, a fistful of that.” It’s all about feel, Grandma explains. Compare the calm, methodical experience the girl has with Grandma versus her nearly disastrous solo attempt in which “Peaches roll. Drop. Squish,” there is “hard, hard” butter to contend with, and dough that “grabs at the counter, snatches at the roller, and clumps up my fingers.” How can you help but root for this little girl as she persists?

The final pages take us through sweet smells, ringing church bells, a squeaking screen door, and a big hug from Daddy. The story ends with the little girl, her father, and her grandmother walking through the orchard together, “buckets swinging,” ready to pick more peaches.

If you’re like me and wish this story would go on just a bit longer, do yourself a favor and check out the peach cobbler recipe in the back matter. It is simple enough for a child to take the lead, and an absolutely delicious conclusion to the book.

Sara Holly Ackerman

Sara Holly Ackerman is the author of several picture books including THE GABI THAT GIRMA WORE, co-authored with Fasika Adefris and illustrated by Netsanet Tesfay, NOT JUST THE DRIVER! illustrated by Robert Neubecker, and CHALLAH FOR SHABBAT TONIGHT illustrated by Alona Millgram. She is a school librarian who lives in Brooklyn, NY right down the street from the library and she never leaves home without her library card. Visit Sara at and on Instagram at @sarahollyackerman.


  1. My mouth is watering over this beautiful book! I just submitted a request to my library to purchase it. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. This blog post makes me want to read the book all over again, and it’s within an arm’s reach, so…

  3. Stacy S. Jensen

    Yes. My mouth is watering. Beautiful book and a great review.

  4. Claire Freeland

    Your review made me want to get my hands on this book asap.

  5. Angie M Quantrell

    Awww, what a sweet premise! I love this! My mouth is watering already. Can’t wait to read it. Congratulations!

  6. Ah! I love this already, and I can’t wait to see it. Our library gets a new purchase request. Thank you so much for sharing this gem.

  7. Such a tender and satisfying book!

  8. I love a great lyrical writing. And a recipe for peach cobbler at the end? Show me the book!

  9. Beautiful! So glad to know about this book. I’m reserving it at my library!

  10. Great review, Sara. I love the art in this one and am looking forward to reading it.

  11. What a beautiful story. I can’t wait to get a copy. Congratulations!

  12. What a lovely and lyrical story! Thank you. Looking forward to being inundated with peaches very soon.

  13. Sounds like a really lovely book.

  14. Just asked the bookstore to get a copy for me! Thank you, Holly!!!

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