HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Chocolate by Hershey: A Story about Milton S. Hershey
Author: Betty Burford
Illustrator: Loren Chantland
Publisher: Lerner, 1994
ISBN-13: 978-0613683241 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0613683242 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0876146415 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0876146418 (Paperback)
Related website: www.lernerbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Burford, Betty. Chocolate by Hershey: A Story About Milton S. Hershey (published in 1994 by Millbrook Press, a division of Lerner Publishing Group Inc., 241 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55401). Nearly everyone has heard of Hershey’s chocolates, and most people have eaten either a Hershey Bar or a Hershey’s Kiss. Milton Snavely Hershey (1857–1945) was born near the little town of Derry Church, PA, to Henry and “Fanny” Hershey who were of German-Swiss heritage and members of Pennsylvania’s Mennonite community. After receiving his education at the one-room schoolhouse in Derry Church, the Rockridge School, and four other schools, and being fired as an apprentice to a newspaper editor, Milton became an apprentice in Lancaster, PA, with a confectioner named Joe Royer and learned the trade of candy making.
Hershey tried to get established in the candy business at Philadelphia, PA; Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; New Orleans, LA; and New York City, NY. However, he was not successful until he returned to Lancaster and founded the Lancaster Caramel Company. Following a visit to England, he decided to switch the focus of his business to chocolate, bought a huge cornfield outside his birthplace of Derry Church, and built a chocolate factory. To provide for his workers, he created the town of Hershey with comfortable homes, an inexpensive public transportation system, a quality public school system, and extensive recreational and cultural opportunities. Also, he used his fortune to establish a school for underprivileged children and made Hershey into a tourist attraction with many points of interest such as a visitor’s center, a zoo, an amusement park, and a museum. Hershey married Kitty Sweeney in 1898, but she died prematurely in 1915, and the couple had no children.
This book is one of the “Creative Minds Biography” series from the Lerner Publishing Co. We visited Hershey, PA, last year, and I picked up this book in the Milton S. Hershey Museum gift shop as a memento of our time there. Author Betty Burford does a great job of explaining to youngsters how Hershey struggled to establish himself in the candy business and describing how he used his wealth to benefit others. The black-and-white illustrations by Loren Chantland are somewhat grainy and reminiscent of photographs from the period. Lerner has published some twenty or so other Creative Minds Biographies, including Mr. Blue Jeans: A Story About Levi Strauss by Maryann N. Weldt.