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Posts Tagged ‘book reviews’

 

Petit fours: dainty little iced cakes, delicately layered with fruit or buttercream, an adorable bite-size treat. Eating one of these pastel pretties can make you feel quite special, maybe even a little giddy with delight.

That was just how I felt reading The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by award winning author and poet Anne Michaels.  Meeting the inimitable, eccentric Miss Petitfour was a singular pleasure since she’s an expert at baking and eating little cakes.  A very good talent to have, I must say.

Miss P also likes to read, chat, and dance. She thrives on small pleasures. Fond of “pockets, paisley, playful patterns and anything hand-knitted,” she travels by tablecloth with her 16 cats trailing aloft, a fanciful kind of Mary Poppins sans umbrella with her own brand of magic.

Laced with just the right amounts of whimsy and fun, this charming book features five everyday adventures of precisely the right size:

Some adventures are so small, you hardly know they’ve happened. Like the adventure of sharpening your pencil to a perfect point, just before it breaks and that little bit gets stuck in the sharpener. That, I think we will all agree, is a very small adventure.

Other adventures are so big and last so long, you might forget they are adventures at all — like growing up.

And some adventures are just the right size — fitting into a single, magical day. And these are the sort of adventures Miss Petitfour had.

And guess what else?

Miss Petitfour believed firmly that every adventure past her doorstep — even just a jaunt to the grocery shop — must end with a tea party . . .

Huzzah! :)

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Mmmmmm! There’s nothing like the tantalizing aroma of a brand new picture book to put me in a happy holiday mood. Even better when it’s been cooked up by two immensely talented women — multiple Emmy award winner Sonia Manzano and two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marjorie Priceman.

Miracle on 133rd Street (Atheneum, 2015) contains just the right ingredients for a satisfying, heartwarming read: family, friends, neighbors, sharing, a little bit of magic, music, and even a mustached pizza chef!

Most important, this story is about the power of food — to soothe the savage breast, bring people together, and beget joy.

The food in question is a roast. A BIG roast. One that’s too big to fit in the oven. It’s Christmas Eve and Mami is beside herself. She’s also homesick for Puerto Rico, where she could have easily cooked the roast outside. Jokingly, young José says what they need is a big pizza oven. Papi thinks that’s actually a good idea, so they put the roast in a big box to take it to Regular Ray’s Pizzeria.

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

ELOISE!

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

rebel

imagine

eat oatmeal every morning or you’ll dry up

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#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.

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Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls! Welcome to the Big Top!

In the center ring, behold the rotund Circus Chef as he pulls off the most amazing feat of all: feeding all the circus performers!

(click to enlarge)

IN THE CIRCUS KITCHEN

I’ve never turned a cartwheel, and I’m dizzy in high places.
I couldn’t ever be a clown — I don’t make funny faces.

But put me in the kitchen, and I think you’ll be delighted.
Join us for a circus meal. Everyone’s invited.

I handle special orders and unusual suggestions.
And if you have an allergy, just come to me with questions.

Put me in the kitchen, where the coffee’s percolating.
I’ll mash and melt with pleasure. I can’t keep the circus waiting!

My days are long and sweaty, and the chaos never ends.
But still, I find I’m most content when cooking for my friends.

*

Don’t you love him already? For each picky palate, for each quirky personality, this chef aims to please.

For the Ringmaster who’s always on the go, a picnic of salami and mini baguette stashed in his top hat. For the homesick Ukrainian Strongman, babushka’s vushka recipe. And if you must feed a Juggler who likes to juggle (rather than eat) anything that’s round? A square meal, of course!

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