#22 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2012.
*cheers, wild applause, Scharffen Berger 70% bittersweet chocolate for everyone*
We’re thrilled to congratulate Lee on receiving this prestigious award, the most recent in a steady stream of honors and flat out love for this touching story of an adopted shelter cat (2011 NYPL Best Books of the Year (Poetry), 2012 CCBC Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2012 ALSC Notable Children’s Books, 2011 SLJ and Washington Post Best Books of the Year, 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion (Children’s Books), 2012 Bank Street Best Books of the Year (Star for Outstanding Merit), and more). Totally pawsome!
You probably know that Won Ton is written in a series of senryu, which are similar in form to haiku, but focus on human (or in this case, feline) foibles. Lee’s “petku”capture the very essence of catness: regal, in-the-moment, independent yet loving. Seems that Lee, a card-carrying cat lover since childhood, was always fated to pen this yowly gem. I’m sure Mai Tai wouldn’t have had it any other way, and I’m happy to report a Won Ton sequel is in the works! ☺
Just for us, Lee’s written a delightful, lap-worthy senryu about another of her shelter cats, and she’s brought a special cake, purrfect for us litter-ary types as we let out one final Meow in celebration of Poetry Month. So, lick your whiskers and put your paws together for Lee! *tail swish*
Lee: The poem is based on our kitty Papaya, who is a major hunter! He catches mice, rats, lizards, birds, snakes and bunnies. BIG bunnies. He tries to eat them on the living room rug; when we discourage that, he eats them on the mat outside our back door. He eats the rabbits in sections, starting with the tail. He saves the ears for last, and puts them in the sun until they turn into ear jerky. I’m serious!
by Lee Wardlaw, © 2012
Plump mouse crouched between
two damp leaves. Sun-warmed sandwich,
Recipe for Kitty Litter Cake
Adapted by Lee Wardlaw
You will need:
One brand new plastic kitty litter box
One brand new plastic litter scoop
One or two 9 x 12 x 2 sheet cake pans
One 3-quart saucepan
One 2-quart casserole dish with lid (or other covered container)
1/4 measuring cup
Electric hand mixer
One large Ziploc® storage bag (quart or gallon size)
One microwave-safe dish or sturdy paper plate
One box German chocolate cake mix
One box white cake mix
One 3.5 ounce box vanilla pudding mix
One 12 ounce package vanilla sandwich cookies
One 12 ounce package Tootsie® Rolls (small ones are best)
Eggs, milk and vegetable oil (check cake and pudding mix directions for amounts needed)
1. Prepare the cake mixes according to the package directions. When baked, set aside to cool.
2. While the cakes are baking, prepare the pudding mix in the saucepan according to the package directions. When cooked, pour the pudding into the casserole dish, cover, and chill for at least two hours. Keep cold until you’re ready to assemble the cake.
3. Open the package of sandwich cookies. Pour them into the Ziploc® bag and seal. Crush and crumble the cookies through the bag, using your hands or the flat side of a wooden kitchen mallet. (If you have a food processor, you may use it to crumble the cookies in small batches.) Put aside 3/4 cup of the cookie crumbles.
4. When the cakes have cooled to room temperature, wash your hands, then crumble each cake into the large bowl.
5. Add all the cookie crumbs except 3/4 cup.
6. Using a large spoon or your hands, toss the mixture until well blended.
7. Spoon the chilled pudding into the mixture and toss. (You might not need the entire container of pudding; you want the mixture moist but not soggy.)
8. Spoon the cake mixture into the kitty litter pan. (If the pan came with a liner, you may place that in the bottom before pouring in the mixture.)
9. Unwrap three or four Tootsie® Rolls and place on the microwave-safe dish or paper plate. Microwave on high for 10-15 seconds. Pinch the ends of each Tootsie® Roll so they are no longer blunt; curve or coil each Tootsie® so it resembles a kitty ‘poop’. (Be careful — the Tootsies® may be very hot in the center!) You may want to experiment, making each ‘poop’ a different thickness by rolling it between your hands (like when you make a snake out of clay) or by joining two Tootsies® together before coiling.
Bury each ‘poop’ so that it sticks partially out of the cake mixture; or place the ‘poops’ at random atop the cake. Sprinkle with some of the cookie crumbles that you set aside.
Continue softening and shaping the Tootsies® until they are almost melted (about 30 seconds). Drape them over the side of the box and sprinkle with a bit more of the cookie mixture. (Be very careful — these melted ‘poops’ are HOT!)
Sprinkle any remaining cookie crumbs over the top of the cake. Cover the litter pan loosely with aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to eat, serve using the pooper scooper!
The day before your event, bake both cakes and prepare the pudding. When the cakes have cooled, cut each into large squares and seal inside two large Ziploc® bags so they stay fresh.
The next day, follow the rest of the directions, above, and serve immediately — or within an hour or two.
Place any remaining cake in a sealed container and refrigerate. It will stay fresh and tasty for 2-3 days.
To create the complete litter box look, place the litter pan on top of an open sheet of newspaper. (I prefer the Sunday colored comics!)
Since most packaged cake mixes contain chemicals, trans fats, and corn sweeteners, I recommend using all-natural cake mixes. (Or, better yet, bake both cakes from scratch!) You will find all-natural cake mixes at your local health food store or online. I also recommend purchasing an all-natural vanilla pudding mix at the health food store.
This cake is fun to serve at Halloween or cat birthday parties! (Do not serve to cats, however; chocolate can be poisonous to felines.)
Lee Wardlaw claims that her first word was ‘kitty’. Since then, she’s shared her life with more than two-dozen cats (not all at the same time!) and published more than two-dozen award-winning books for children, tweens and teens. Lee’s picture book Won Ton – A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Holt), illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, won the 2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. Lee lives in Santa Barbara, CA, with her husband, teenage son (who loves kitty litter cake!), and two cats. For more info about Lee and her books, visit: http://www.leewardlaw.com
♥ Check out all six of last week’s Door Prize winners here.
♥ Don’t miss Lee’s interview with Renée LaTulippe at No Water River. You can hear her read from Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku and learn about some great extension activities for the book.
Previously: Menu/Giveaway/Door Prizes, April Pulley Sayre, Mary Quattlebaum, Helen Frost, Linda Ashman, Gail Gerwin, Martha Calderaro, Kathi Appelt, Robyn Hood Black, Charles Waters, Adele Kenny, Linda Baie, Lesa Medley, Leslie Muir, Margarita Engle, Sondra Gash, Doraine Bennett, Janet Wong, Jill Corcoran, Lill Pluta, Heidi Bee Roemer.
♥ Stay tuned for a Poetry Potluck Wrap-Up on Wednesday, May 2, 2012! Who will win the Giveaway?
Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.