Archive for the ‘thematic book roundups’ Category

“Latkes for Hanukkah” by Anat Sifri (click to enlarge)

Mmmmmmm, latkes!

Everyone can’t seem to get enough. Don’t worry, when your belly’s full, you can rest between platefuls by feasting on these warm, crispy, fluffy, savory, salty, lip-smacking picture books, and then you can fry up some more!

Today I’m serving up 8 of my favorites, one for each night of Hanukkah. There’s a little bit of everything in the mix — family and friends, folklore, legend, magic, humor, and miracles! Enjoy these heartwarming, satisfying stories and pass the applesauce!

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“My cat, Sneaky Pie, is writing a cookbook for cats, but I don’t think dried mole would be appetizing.” ~ Rita Mae Brown


“My Eldest Daughter” by Carl Larsson (1907)

‘Tis the season for wishing and gifting, feasting and singing, prancing and jingling your tinkly bells. Surely the best holiday gift to give or receive is a book with bite.

For today’s menu, a platter of twelve tasty titles sure to please the literary foodies on your list. Whenever I crave a little smackerel of something, I pull one of these from my shelves and dip, sip and savor. Whether cookbook, anthology or compendium, there’s something here for every appetite, especially for those who, like me, love food trivia and are endlessly fascinated by what writers, other famous people or characters in novels eat and cook. Bon Appétit!


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Jingle, jingle! The ice cream cart is here. What’s your pleasure?

They say vanilla is America’s favorite flavor, followed by chocolate. I’ll take one of each, please, and while you’re at it, I wouldn’t mind a scoop or two of cherry amaretto, chocolate fudge brownie, spumoni, mint chocolate chip, and pralines and cream. ☺

MJ Geldres/flickr

The best thing about ice cream is that no matter how old you get, with those first few licks you’re a child again, and all the same rules apply — lick around the edge of your scoop so it doesn’t drip, don’t take too big a bite or you’ll get brain freeze, don’t lick too hard or your ice cream might fall off, and never bite the tip of your cone when there’s ice cream still in it.


Did you know that more ice cream is sold on Sunday than on any other day of the week? In Hawai’i, there was no such thing as eating ice cream mostly during the summer — it was a year-round treat we milked to the hilt: Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen, strawberry sundae ice cream cups at birthday parties, Creamsicles from the local sweet shop, small scoops of vanilla with shave ice, and of course all those other favorites we begged our mom for at the grocery store: Milk Nickel, Drumsticks, Fudgsicles, and don’t let me forget ice cream sandwiches! *licks lips*


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Put on your bibs and lick your chops — it’s fresh veggie time!

Serving up a little of summer’s bounty today in celebration of all that is green, purple, red, orange and yellow. Nothing better than the crunch of a carrot, the juicy ooze of a garden ripe tomato, the fresh snap of a sassy bean. A quick perusal of vegetable books at my library revealed a surprising number of varieties who took great pride in their ability to amaze and delight. Some call attention to themselves just by being BIG, while others excel at showmanship. Veggie vaudeville? Lima bean monsters? Whoever said vegetables were boring? 


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Vintage Baby by Pelagie Doane (lottielulu/flickr).

We’ve got a special delivery today courtesy of the stork.

Yes, they’re here — lots of freshly-powdered, cooing, wriggling bundles of joy — just what we need to cheer us up in the depths of winter. Who doesn’t love chubby, dimpled hands and feet, the sweet smell of a baby’s head, the sound of little burps and giggles?

(click to enlarge spread from Everywhere Babies)

Babies are indeed a popular subject when it comes to picture books. A quick check at my local library revealed eight excellent titles published in 2010 alone, three of them about wanting a baby brother (what’s so bad about baby sisters, anyway?). I also reread a few of the classics, like Julius, The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes, and Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee. Henkes’s book is long by today’s standards, but boy, does it hold up well against all competition. He really nailed the sibling rivalry/jealousy thing with emotions that ring so, so true. But then, Kevin Henkes is quite a genius.


I love the way Marla Frazee draws babies. She’s done quite a few baby-themed books; besides Everywhere Babies, there’s Walk On!: A Guide for Babies of All Ages, New Baby Train, Hush, Little Baby, and last year’s brilliant The Boss Baby. Marla’s babies are never bland or stereotypical; even a quick glance through Everywhere Babies will make you feel all cuddly and ready to tickle somebody’s bottom. You even kind of wish one of the little cutie pies would crawl into your life right now.

Wait, look who’s here! Our great-nephew Charlie, the cutest baby we know and already an avid book lover. Since he’s going to have a brand new baby brother soon, I imagine he’ll appreciate some of today’s stories ☺.


Okay, it’s feeding time.


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