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Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’

Stories about runaway food — whether pancakes, bannocks, rice cakes, latkes, tortillas or gingerbread men — have long delighted children of all ages. Though Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the first man-shaped gingerbread cookie, portraying the Gingerbread Boy as a story hero is a uniquely American invention. The cheeky, spicy guy first appeared in print in an 1875 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine, and he’s been running and taunting readers ever since.

In the charmingly clever interactive mystery Catch that Cookie (2014), which was inspired by author Hallie Durand’s son, young Marshall doesn’t believe gingerbread men can walk or run. Sure, he’s heard all the stories his teacher Mrs. Gray has shared with the class, but Marshall doesn’t buy any of it. Cookies are for eating, period.

When it’s time for them to make their own gingerbread boys, Marshall enjoys mixing the dough (Mrs. Gray tells him he “rocked” it), and decorating his little man with “good stuff”: six raisins for eyes and a special silver-ball belt. But later when Mrs. Gray unlocks the oven to retrieve the baked cookies, they’re gone!

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Hello there. It’s story o’clock and time for elevenses!

Paddington’s put on his comfy PJs and slippers, poured a cup of warm cocoa, and procured a big fat chocolate bun just for you. If you’re familiar with Paddington and his adventures, you know that he frequents Portobello Road to have cocoa and buns with Mr. Gruber in his antique shop.

What’s that? You haven’t read any of the Paddington chapter books yet? Oh but you must! The movie is coming to the U.S. soon — we’ve been counting down the days to January 16 for months now. To whet your appetite, check out this video of some of the cast and crew reading the first chapter of the very first book, A Bear Called Paddington (1958).

Why do stories always sound better when read aloud in a British accent? I especially love the way they all pronounce the word “bear.” Nicole Kidman’s Australian accent is pretty cool, too. I think we Americans have been getting it wrong all this time. :)

So take a break, put your feet up, sip some cocoa and grab a bite of that bun before a certain furry interloper devours it all. Enjoy!

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HAPPY THURSDAY!

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Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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#50 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

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Right now I am loving the work of crazy-talented London-based illustrator and hand lettering artist Linzie Hunter.

Originally from Scotland, she graduated from Glasgow University and then studied illustration at the Chelsea College of Art and Design.

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Linzie’s distinctive, exuberant doodles have graced everything from magazine and book covers, posters, cookie tins, children’s toys, stickers and stationery to oodles of promotional materials. Her impressive international client list includes The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Scholastic, HarperCollins, Roaring Brook Press, Sainsbury’s, Random House, Macmillan, American Girl, and Marks & Spencer.

Her hand drawn letters have irresistible “personalities” and her zany characters often prompt a double take. I also love her maps and ongoing poster series of Uninspiring Messages. And yes, she’s illustrated a children’s book: A Small Brown Dog With a Wet Pink Nose (written by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen).

Enjoy this mini-trip to Linzie Land! :)

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I’m happy to welcome dear friend and award winning author Margo Sorenson back to Alphabet Soup today. :)

The good news is that her middle grade historical novel, Tori and the Sleigh of Midnight Blue (first released in paperback back in 2003), is now available as an ebook!

Eleven-year-old Tori and her family are struggling with the Great Depression in North Dakota, and the death of her beloved Papa has been the severest blow of all. To aspiring writer Tori, everything is changing for the worse—her friends are acting too grown-up, and her little brother Otto invades her privacy. When a Norwegian bachelor-farmer begins courting Mama, Tori writes in her journal that her life will be ruined. What will Tori discover about forgiveness and acceptance as she tries to keep her life from changing?

I enjoyed learning about Scandinavian customs through this beautifully written novel, which reminded me of childhood favorites like All-of-a Kind Family and the Little House Books, where family ties, simple pleasures and a strong sense of community sustain the characters through difficult times.

In the chapter “Missing!”, Tori reluctantly helps her mother roll lefse for Thanksgiving. She usually loves making the traditional flatbread, but this would be their second Thanksgiving without Papa, and besides, she was angry that Mama had invited suitor Bjorn Oppestadt to dinner. How dare she? He wasn’t family!

Today, Margo talks about rolling lefse with her own family. It sounds like such delicious fun. Adopt me, please :).

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“Your work should be in praise of what you love.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best cooks know that sometimes it’s those intangible ingredients that can make or break a recipe.

A certain slant of light, a sprinkling of happy anticipation, a generous cup of love. Two people can prepare the same dish with notably different results. That’s because cooking is a transformative process — part magic, part spiritual, part meditative. Every cook brings his or her own je ne sais quoi to the table.

In Mr. Emerson’s Cook by Judith Byron Schachner (Dutton, 1998), we see what happens when Irish cook Annie Burns finally discovers what special ingredient she must use to help employer Ralph Waldo Emerson regain his appetite.

Emerson lived at “Bush House” from 1835-1880. Here, he raised his family, wrote his most important works, and entertained leading transcendentalists like Thoreau, the Alcotts, and Elizabeth Peabody.

Fact and fiction are interwoven in this beautifully written gem of a story, which takes place at Emerson’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, where he lived with his second wife Lidian and their three children.

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