The holidays are here and you know what that means: fun and “interesting” gatherings with family and friends, a time when we’re especially happy to hear these two little words: LET’S EAT!!

When all your favorite dishes magically appear on the table, where will you sit?

I love when we visit my grandma Mabel.
I get to sit at the little kids’ table!

The young narrator in this hilarious new rhyming picture book, The Little Kids’ Table, couldn’t be happier. After all, he knows he and his cousins are in for a rollicking good time. Unlike his parents, who must sit at the grown-ups’ table (“so shiny and fancy,/and has pretty flowers from my aunt Nancy”), they will, among other things, get to fiddle with their flatware:

Next to our forks we have spoons at our places.
We try to get them to stick to our faces.

First you breathe on the spoon, then press it on tight.
It’ll hang from your nose if you do it just right.

Continue Reading »

René Colato Laínez is an award winning Salvadoran author of many multicultural books. He is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults. René is a bilingual elementary teacher at Fernangeles Elementary School, where he is known by the students as “the teacher full of stories.” He lives in Los Angeles.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Hot chocolate.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESS: ¡Vámonos! Let’s Go! illustrated by Joe Cepeda, (Holiday House, Fall 2015).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto (J. P. Putnam’s, 1993)All of Jorge Argueta’s un poema para cocinar (cooking poem) books: Sopa de frijoles/Bean Soup (2009), Arroz con leche/Rice Pudding (2010), Guacamole (2012), Tamalitos (2013), Salsa (2015).


VI Festival internacional de poesía infantil “Manyula”del 16 al 20 de noviembre de 2015 en la Biblioteca Nacional “Francisco Gavidia”, El Salvador.

VI International Children’s Poetry Festival “Manyula”, November 16-20, at the National Library “Francisco Gavidia,” El Salvador.

☕ Visit René Colato Laínez’s Official Website


Hot Chocolate Poem

Uno, dos, tres cho
Uno, dos, tres co
Uno, dos, tres la
Uno, dos, tres te
chocolate, chocolate
bate, bate el chocolate

One, two, three cho
One, two, three co
One, two, three la
One, two, three te
chocolate, chocolate
stir, stir the chocolate


Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

Guess who’s celebrating her 60th Anniversary this month?


She isn’t 60 years old, silly. She’ll always be SIX. And a city child. Who lives at The Plaza.

But 60 years ago, the first Eloise book was published: Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grownups by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight. It became an instant phenomenon and was followed by four sequels: Eloise in Paris, Eloise at Christmastime, Eloise in Moscow, and Eloise Takes a Bawth. To date, these five original titles as well as other books based on the Eloise character and the art of Hilary Knight have sold an estimated 6 million copies. :)

Here’s what I like

my Eloise bookshelf

Here’s what you should do

make a splawsh

Whenever things get the teensiest bit dull, I skibble and skiddle and oh-so-artfully sklathe through any of the Eloise books.

Here’s what she taught me

live LARGE



eat oatmeal every morning or you’ll dry up

Continue Reading »

#52 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.

Tear the ticket.
Load the freight.
Sound the whistle.
Raise the gate.

Clank! Chug-chug! Whoosh!

Alphabet trains.

Art © 2015 Ryan O’Rourke (click to enlarge)

All Aboard, Letter-lovin’ Railroad Buffs!

Author Samantha R. Vamos is here to tell us all about her clickety-clack-cool new rhyming picture book Alphabet Trains (Charlesbridge, 2015)!

Not too long ago, we had so much fun cruising and vrooming through Alphabet Trucks (Charlesbridge, 2013), that we were pretty excited when this shiny new book hit the rails.

Since I’m especially fond of trains (blame it on the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” and the fact that I met my husband in London while he was designing a railroad in Algeria), I was anxious to ask Samantha a few questions about writing and researching this 26-track gem.


A is for Auto Train,
Load your car on the rack.

B is for bullet train —
high speed on welded track.

Continue Reading »

Matthew Cordell is the illustrator of over 25 books for children including picture books, novels, and works of poetry, several of which he has also written, including New York Times Notable picture book, Hello! Hello!. Matthew lives in a suburb of Chicago with his wife, author Julie Halpern, and their two children.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Coffee. I also love tea, but a cup of coffee gets me going in the morning. I’m not a morning person, but I am a dad of kids who are morning people and husband to wife who’s morning people too. Therefore, coffee is essential. I use a French press for my daily AM coffee routine. It may sound fancy schmancy, but I’m no coffee freak or purist or anything. I’m the sole coffee drinker in the house and this is really the simplest form of delivery for basically one cup a day. And no filters, man!

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Wish (Disney-Hyperion, March 2015); Special Delivery, written by Philip C. Stead (Roaring Brook Press, March 2015); First Grade Dropout written by Audrey Vernick (Clarion Books, July 2015); Lost. Found., written by Marsha Diane Arnold (Roaring Brook Press, November 3, 2015).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: I’m a big fan of HEY, PANCAKES! by Tamson Weston and Stephen Gammell (Silver Whistle, 2003). It’s a family favorite, actually. Great, fun story and great, fun art. We’ve used the recipe in the back many times. Every time you read it, you’re guaranteed a serious craving for some pancakes!

Visit Matthew Cordell’s Official Website and blog. 

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Bonus Pic of Matthew’s steamy French Press:

Merci beaucoup!

☕ ☕ ☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Check out the Blog Tour for Lost. Found. to learn more about this beary cool book just released this week!



Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.


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