[lipsmacking review] Hannah’s Tall Order by Linda Vander Heyden and Kayla Harren

#58 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

I hope you’re really, really hungry, because this story is quite a feast. Put on a very big bib, please.

May I tempt you with green peppers, figs, tomatoes, marshmallow fluff?

Care to wrap your lips around a buttery slice of avocado, dive into a tub of whipped cream, or slather yourself with a side of honey or ketchup?

All of this and more are yours when you read Hannah’s Tall Order by Linda Vander Heyden and Kayla Harren (Sleeping Bear Press, 2018).Β  This hilarious, somewhat messy, lick-the-pages story serves up a tastebud tickling smorgasbord between two slices of bread.

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love me some mouni feddag

When you’ve got the blahs, the perfect way to *WAKE UP* and have some !!FUN!! is with a little Mouni Feddag. πŸ™‚

A self described “drawing person born and based in the UK” who is also “very nice,” Mouni’s distinctive style is all about vibrant shocks of color and a wry humor that examines the human condition with loads of quirky details. She’s like a sketchy doodler gone wild. πŸ˜€

Though she was born in England, she moved to Frankfurt with her family when she was nine, and has been back and forth between there and various cities in England ever since. She graduated in 2014 with a Degree in Communications Design from the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt.

She claims that studying in Germany helped solidify her style, a reaction to the “somber, melancholic, and over-conceptual work” she saw in the classes she took. This prompted her to make “silly, pretty things.”

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Step into Maggie Dietz’s “The Yellow House, 1978”

“The kitchen is where we deal with the elements of the universe. It is where we come to understand our past and ourselves.” ~ Laura Esquivel

“Yellow House, Summer Afternoon” by Suzanne Siegel


Which room in your house says the most about you?


“Washing Dishes” by Deborah DeWit (2010)


by Maggie Dietz

The kitchen in the house had a nook for eating, a groove
for the broom behind the door and the woman moved through
it like bathing, reaching ladles from drawers, turning to lift

the milk from the refrigerator while still stirring the pudding,
as if the room and everything in it were as intimate to her as her body, as beautiful and worthy of her attention as the elbows

which each day she soothed with rose lotion or the white legs
she lifted, again and again, in turn, while watching television.
To be in that room must be what it was like to be the man

next to her at night, or the child who, at six o’clock had stood
close enough to smell the wool of her sweater through the steam,
and later, at the goodnight kiss, could breathe the flavor of her hair —

codfish and broccoli — and taste the coffee, which was darkness
on her lips, and listen then from upstairs to the water running
down, the mattress drifting down the river, a pale moonmark

on the floor, and hear the clink of silverware — the stars, their distant
speaking — and picture the ceiling — the back of a woman kneeling,
covering the heart and holding up the bed and roof and cooling sky.

~ from Perennial Fall (The University of Chicago Press, 2006)


Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935)


The kitchen (no surprise) is my favorite room in the house, with the dining room a close second. Someone wise once said that the kitchen is the heart of the home — so very true. It’s the place where family and guests gather most often, where delicious dishes (and sometimes ingenious ideas) are cooked up, where news of the day is shared, where we read our mail and shine our shoes.

It’s a place of culinary triumph and catastrophe, of hopes, laughter, test runs, and occasionally, bravery (yikes, yeast!). Whenever I make one of my mother’s or aunt’s recipes, I hear their voices cheering me on. I’m grateful for good times past, and the chance to make some new memories steeped in their legacies.


“Yellow Saucepan” by Felicity House


I have a particular fondness for our current kitchen because it’s the first one I designed myself from scratch. Nothing fancy, mind you, but much thought was given to work stations, varying counter heights, storage spaces, ease of maintenance, how I envisioned myself “moving” in the room. The maple cabinets are sage green and pale yellow milk paint, the island is natural cherry, and we have a black and white checkered floor (much like what’s pictured in Deborah DeWit’s painting).

But it’s not only my kitchen — I like yours too. If I visited your house, it would be the room I would be most curious to see, because it would tell me the most about you. πŸ™‚


“The Spanish Kitchen” by Sergio Sanchez


The first two stanzas of Maggie Dietz’s poem drew me in right away. I do think most women — at least the ones who like to cook — have an intimate knowledge of almost every square inch of their kitchens. When they’re totally “in the flow” of cooking (which sometimes requires improvisation) or baking (with its streamlined precision), there’s a beautiful brand of zen to speak of. I appreciate the nod to domesticity in an age when women are expected to do it all.


“The Kitchen Maid” by William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941)


I love all the telling, sensory details in Dietz’s poem, from the pudding stirring to the child smelling the “codfish and broccoli” flavor of the woman’s hair, to the “clink of silverware,” to the final image of “the back of a woman kneeling,/covering the heart and holding up the bed and roof and cooling sky.”

I like thinking that a favorite room is an extension of self, a reflection of personality. Here’s to thriving in one’s element, feeling empowered by it. There’s definitely something golden about being the mistress of one’s domain, wherever that may be.


“Tea, Yellow House” by Keiko Ogawa


“The Right Word” by Deborah DeWit (2007)


What struck you most about this poem?




*rubs hands together*

We are doubly excited because we have two winners to announce today!

Thanks to everyone for entering and leaving such nice comments at both posts. πŸ™‚


Are you ready?

*drum roll, please*




For a signed copy of THERE WAS AN OLD GATOR WHO SWALLOWED A MOTH, the winner is:

🐊 AMY MERRILL at Mrs. Merrill’s Book Break!! 🐊




And the winner of a brand new copy of HOME BUILDERS is:

ELIZABETHΒ  C. at Literature and Limes!!





β™₯️ Big thanks to B.J. Lee for donating a signed copy of her new Gator book, and to Penguin/Random House for a brand new copy of Home Builders.


The lovely and talented Jone MacCulloch is hosting the Roundup at Check It Out. Mosey on over for the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Have a nice weekend!



Roger Duvoisin (One Step, Two, written by Charlotte Zolotow, 1955)


Copyright Β© 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

β™₯️ a trio of sweet treats for valentine’s day β™₯️

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Have you ever noticed how many terms of endearment are related to food?

Just call me Honey, Babycakes, Sugar, Pumpkin, Cookie, Cutie Pie, Cupcake, Pudding, or Dumpling.

Of course I wouldn’t mind a little foreign flavor once in awhile, like “petit chou,” (little cabbage, French), “polpetto/a” (meatball, Italian), or “fasolaki mou” (my little green bean, Greek).

It’s all good, cause food is love, and love is food.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, we’re serving up a little three-course feast just for you, cause we love you more than chocolate . . . well, almost (and that’s saying a lot). πŸ™‚

So put on your best bibs and savor these goodies to your heart’s content (feel free to smack your lips, lick your chops, and kiss your bunched fingertips).



Oh, how I love old timey valentines! They take me right back to grade school. It was exciting to go to the five-and-dime with my mom to buy a pack of valentines for my classmates.

Back then, there weren’t any rules about having to give them to everyone in your class. On Valentine’s Day morning, we’d put our cards in a big box, and when we returned from morning recess, we’d find those addressed to us on our desks.

This was actually both a happy and sad experience, because some kids ended up with a big pile of valentines, while others only received a few. A ranking of popularity there on display for all to see. I still remember how sorry I felt for Ronald, because he only got one. This was over 50 years ago, and it still bothers me.

Anyway, a quick scan of vintage valentines (ca. 1950’s) revealed a preponderance of food-related puns. Some are sweet, some are groan-worthy, and some a little strange. Nevertheless, all harken back to a simpler time and are interesting for different reasons. It’s too bad that for the most part, we’ll never know who the artists were behind these designs. Hope you enjoy this little feast from yesteryear!


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So, did you like those? I think my favorite is the Olive Oyl one. I did find a few raise-the-eyebrow-strange non-foodie ones, too:


Violent, much?


Flattery will get you everywhere.


This one’s probably the weirdest. Just ewww.


I like that the practice of sending Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, chocolates, and other gifts started in the UK. Leave it to those clever Brits! And back in Victorian times, they exchanged fancy valentines made with real lace and ribbons before paper lace was invented. So cool.

Do you still send Valentine’s Day cards? More than just a nod to romantic love, this particular holiday is a wonderful time to celebrate friendships.


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Settling in with The Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj and Simona Mulazzani (+ a giveaway!)

What we enjoy most about living in the woods is seeing our wild animal friends. You may remember my mentioning that we regularly feed the foxes, gently move land tortoises away from car danger, and always keep binoculars handy to help us identify new birds.

Any deer sighting is cause for celebration; when there are fawns we melt into puddles of adoration over the spots and white tails. Watching a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk zig and zag while learning to fly is both educational and amusing, and we love the haunting, ethereal hoots of owls late at night.

In The Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj and Simona Mulazzani (Nancy Paulsen/Penguin YRG, 2019) we see how a variety of woodland creatures find shelter and build homes for their soon-to-arrive offspring. Many of the featured animals live in our back yard and woods, so we are familiar with the seasonal hubbub of activity described in this charming picture book.

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