In my kitchen there’s a chalkboard that says, “I’ve never met a pie I didn’t like.” Ever since birth (i.e., 23 years ago), I’ve been on an eternal quest for pie (who, me?).
So it should come as no surprise that whenever a good pie book jumps out of the oven, I like to be first in line. :)
Today, with the help of three furry pastry chefs, we’re peeking under the crust and sampling some of the goodness in The Good-Pie Party, a delectable new picture book officially hitting shelves today by Liz Garton Scanlon and Kady MacDonald Denton.
Liz and Kady have cooked up a gentle, reassuring story about making the best of a sad situation and celebrating the lasting bonds of friendship.
Posy Peyton is very unhappy about moving and having to say goodbye to her two best friends Megan and Mae. Despite their earnest attempts to cheer her up (make the most of the time we have, be thankful we’re such good friends), Posy cannot see anything positive about leaving, and she definitely doesn’t want to have a good-bye party as her mother has suggested.
With every room in the house boxed up except the kitchen, Posy sighs, “There’s nothing to do but bake.” And it is while the three girls are making a fresh apple pie that Mae utters these luscious words, “Hot, sweet, good pie,” and Posy has an epiphany.
Good pie! Good pie is better than good-bye!
And just like that, she comes up with the idea for a good-pie party, where they’ll invite friends and neighbors for a lawn chair-sitting, picture-taking, lemonade-drinking, good old fashioned lip-smacking pie potluck!
Oh, glory! Pies both sweet and savory in all shapes and sizes! Pies, the ultimate comfort food, gift of love, symbol of home, tradition and abundance, always meant to be shared. Not fussy like some cakes. And just as pies are defined by their layers, this congenial gathering generates mixed feelings, with lingering sadness hovering just beneath the hubbub of happy chatter and laughter.
I love how the child’s point of view is honored and how the reality of the move isn’t glossed over with canned sentiment. I like the idea of baking together as a therapeutic, fun activity capable of inspiring brighter thoughts. And of course there’s the power of pie to bring all ages together — a food everyone can enjoy to sweeten the kind of partings we’ll all experience many times in our lives.
Kady’s cozy pastel watercolors beautifully capture the busyness of packing, the camaraderie amongst friends, the warmth of community, and the joy of baking (!), with a wealth of accessible detail providing interesting insight into who Posy is and what her life is like. Deftly drawn facial expressions make every nuance of emotion palpable, as scowls gradually turn into smiles.
I couldn’t help but hear the childhood jingle, “a ring is round and has no end, and that’s how long I’ll be your friend,” in the back of my mind as I looked at how Kady extended the pie metaphor with circular objects — balls, balloons, and hula hoops, ultimately showcasing the moon, a timeless pie in the sky the girls can always share. The story ends with one last glimpse of this loving circle of friends, arm in arm, counting their lucky stars.
The Good-Pie Party is as comforting as one’s favorite pie, welcome nourishment for kids facing the tough and unsettling challenges of separation and transition. Be sure to save your forks for this one!
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There was no way we could read this book and not crave pie pie pie, so we made some little bear-size hand pies. We call them Cutie Pies, because, well, um, we’re cute. :)
Since Author Liz likes apple pie, and Illustrator Kady likes blueberry, it was easy to decide on fillings. These babies were simple to assemble using refrigerated pie dough, a couple of golden delicious apples + spices and canned blueberry pie filling. A fun, flour-y activity for hungry munchkins and eager bears, these adorable three-bite treats eliminate the need for knives and forks.
A few tips:
- Non-stick mini-muffin or tartlet pans are your best friends. The tartlet set I blogged about here was great for this project, since it comes with a cutter and a tamper.
- You can use a round cookie cutter (about 2-1/2″) or cut out squares and fold them diagonally for triangular-shaped pies.
- Brush the edges of the bottom circle or square with an egg wash or plain water to aid sealing. Place about a tablespoon of filling, lay on top crust, then crimp edges with a fork.
- Brush top crusts with a little milk for browning, then sprinkle on a little coarse sugar before baking.
(click on any image for gallery view)
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THE GOOD-PIE PARTY
written by Liz Garton Scanlon
illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
published by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic
Picture Book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.
Cool themes: Moving, friendship, parties, baking, community
** Spring 2014 Indie Kids Next List
🍕 Check out Scholastic Story Corner for more spreads and a downloadable pie coloring sheet.
HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, LIZ AND KADY!!
*Interior spread posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright © 2014 Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrations © 2014 Kady MacDonald Denton, published by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.