top of page

The Cheesy Gift that Made History!

Pew! The Stinky and Legen-Dairy Gift from Colonel Thomas S. Meacham written by Cathy Stefanec Ogren and illustrated by Lesley Breen, published by Sleeping Bear Press.

Pew! The Stinky and Legen-Dairy Gift from Colonel Thomas S. Meacham is a fun and informative picture book about how cheese is made and about a particular time in U.S. history.

This true story begins in 1835 on Thomas Meacham's farm with horses, sheep, beef cattle, and 150 dairy cows. When Meacham decided he wanted to offer the U.S. president a gift, something special from his state of New York and specifically from his town of Sandy Creek, he looked to his cows. The result was the most enormous wheel of cheese yet to be seen.

Cathy Stefanec Ogren's clever prose describes the step by step process required to make cheese, the type of transportation necessary to get it from New York to the White House, and how the cheese brought great pleasure to the president and his guests until ... well, you'll see that cheese doesn't keep fresh forever! The havoc that such a large gift of cheese brings will surely amuse readers.

Lesley Breen's illustrations depict the times in fashion, mannerisms, and further describes the journey of the cheese wheel in clear visual detail.

Back matter continues to engage readers with further history and "Cheesy Facts."

Imagine it!

Imagine that you want to offer a special present to the president of the United States.

What is a specialty that comes from your state, county, town, or your own home? Is it something to bake? To construct? To create?

How would you go about making it?

How could you transport it to Washington, D.C.... in 1835? What modes of transportation were available then?

What challenges could arise? How would you overcome them?

Does your gift have an expiration date? Does it require special storage? How could it be enjoyed by other Washingtonians?

Write and/or draw a plan for your creation and how to present it to a president.

Imagine people talking about such a gift for hundreds of years!

Recent Posts

See All


Kaye Baillie
Kaye Baillie
Mar 23, 2023

Another great post, Michelle. Congratulations Cathy on your new book which I'm sure kids will love. What a story! And congratulations to Lesley on the great illos!


Cathy Ogren
Cathy Ogren
Mar 23, 2023

Thank you for a wonderful review, Michelle. The "Imagine It!" activities are an extra treat! 😁

bottom of page