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Archive for the ‘book reviews (all genres)’ Category

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.

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“He who chases his own tail has a full circle moment.” ~ Issa Shih Tzu

Ahhrrrooooo!

I’ve got my nose in the best book!

Why Do I Chase Thee: Classic Poetry for Dogs from Elizabeth Basset Browning and Other Canine Masters by Jessica Swaim and Chet Phillips is tail-waggin’ brilliant and totally blows my ears back. Can you dig it?

Finally, finally, dogs have their day and their say. For far too long, silly humans have discounted their random bow wows, arfs, woofs, yips, and yaps. Here’s proof that some of these mutts were actually sniffing out sonnets and licking limericks with the best of them.

Make no bones about it, this snappy little volume features sixteen of the most celebrated poetic pooches of all time, including four-time Poolitzer Prize winner Rover Frost, iambic puptameter whizzard William Shakespaw, haiku master Issa Shih Tzu, and the somewhat repentant Dogden Dash, who knows just what to do with a rhymed puplet:

SPECIAL DELIVERY

Judging by their ankles, here’s my educated guess:
The FedEx man tastes better than the guy from UPS.

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Happy Almost Spring!

1. Don’t you love our current blog header?  The collage of pretty tea-themed images is by April Rose Illustration, the brand of UK-based watercolour artist and illustrator Siobhan Harrison. Siobhan graciously granted me permission to share a bit of her work, and it makes me happy every time I click on Alphabet Soup and see that lovely teapot, teacup and those yummy cakes.

Copyright © 2014 Siobhan Harrison/April Rose Illustration

Siobhan’s delicate watercolour florals have been used on products ranging from note cards, packaging, gift wrap, greeting cards and book covers, extending through to homewares / kitchen ware and table top ceramics. She’s also illustrated over two dozen children’s books which have been published worldwide.

You can find out more about her work at April Rose Illustration, Siobhan Harrison Illustration, April’s Illustration Blog, and Siobhan’s Sketch Blog. Crafty types may also wish to check out her product page at the Trimcraft website, which features lots of craft supplies and project ideas. Of course you can also follow Siobhan on Twitter and Facebook.

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2. I enjoy keeping tabs on all our Indie Artist Spotlight interviewees. Love this teapot and teacup lamb watercolor by Deidre Wicks at Water in My Paint,

Original watercolor available at Etsy.

and these adorable wee bunnies by Bossy’s Feltworks:

Adopt a bunny at Etsy!

Both are perfect to get you into the Spring/Easter’s coming mood!

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Extremely cool cover art by Kevin Slattery

I’m just sitting here tickling the ivories, tickled pink that author, poet, fellow blogger and online friend Barbara Etlin has just published her very first book of poetry! Hoo Hoo!

In between tending her tulips, perfecting owl calls and waiting on HRH Echo (genius good-looking-poetry-writing dog), Barb has managed to cook up 33 mostly humorous, tickle-your-fancy poems exploring “the crescendos and diminuendos of life.”

Call Antique Piano & Other Sour Notes a quirky smorgasbord, a recital of finely-tuned off key musings and amusings about everything from “broken hearts to broken appliances.” It’s fitting that she’s chosen a musical theme for this collection, since she loves to play with lyrics by parodying popular songs and referencing favorite artists like Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles.

Barb’s fave art deco vase.

Writers, especially, will appreciate the ode to an electric typewriter and the memo to Lewis Carroll from the Seven Maids’ Union. For minimalists, Barb has included four haiku; for mind-benders, a conversation between refrigerator magnets; for pet lovers, two barks and a meow; and if you’re feeling spacier than normal, check out the “Etiquette for Astronauts.” For the first time ever, we get to hear the Moon’s side of things (and it’s a little dark)!

I asked Barb to share some tips about humor writing and self publishing, and I was curious about the antique piano. Of course I also asked for a favorite recipe (yes, it’s chocolate!). And, as a special added treat especially for you animal lovers, we’re serving up a sample poem from the book by Echo himself (it’s a good thing Barb takes good dictation). Ruff!

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What are you looking at?

You’ve been here almost three seconds and you still haven’t complimented me. Does silky grey fur mean nothing to you? Ill manners are terribly middle class.

*tail swish*

Mr. Cornelius humors Jellylorum.

Oops, how did Jellylorum get hold of my laptop? Mr. Cornelius invited him over for a kitTea so we could discuss Chris Kelly’s  Downton Tabby (Simon & Schuster, 2013).

I hate tea. Give me milk.

We had fun noshing on this whisker-twitching 80-page parody about the upper clawst Clowder family and the downstairs cats who work like dogs waiting on them.

Everyone knows cats are the aristocrats of the animal kingdom. Downton Tabby offers us the privilege of seeing them in all their stately splendor, doing what they do best — looking good, ambling around, being fed, setting a fine example, being admired.

But alas! Their traditional role in society — providing work for others — is being threatened by the “tides of history.” Yes, fur will fly.

Wait, I’ll take tea. No, milk. No, tea. Tea with Milk!

Check out these feisty felines: Robert, Earl of Grimalkin; his beautiful Chat-elaine, Korat; their three daughters, Minxy (the pretty one), Serval (the prettier one) and Lady Etcetera (the other one); heir presumptive Matthmew; and of course, the one and only Dowager Catness, Vibrissa. Let’s not forget Catson the Butler, Mrs. Mughes the Housecreeper, Thomas Farel (Evil Foot Cat), Tom the Chau-fur, Laisy (Kitchen Maid) and Mrs. Catmore the Cook.

Got bacon?

It’s all here, every joy and catastrophe:

Their lives, loves, births, deaths, marriages, affairs, prides, prejudices, senses, sensibilities, mills, flosses, cakes, ales, high teas and fun fairs, car accidents, scandals, bouts of Spanish influenza, and war with Germany.

I will now proceed to languidly shred your upholstery.

We daintily nibbled on our tuna sandwiches as we chuckled over the whole kitten caboodle: the non-stop tom foolery, witticisms, sight gags, revised “history,” bon mots — all essential advice for preserving the gentry’s “Golden Age.” After all, any one of us may someday find ourselves among “Those Who Have Things Done for Them,” and we must follow a solid Code of Conduct. What is the proper way to sleep, feed, groom, feed, loaf (“in a decorative and highly charming manner”), feed, cast a withering glare (to communicate both affection and disapproval)?

Why aren’t you withering?

 

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