going natural with april pulley sayre

#2 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2012.

April’s new picture book will be out in May.

Happy Poetry Month, and three big cheers for our first guest poet, Geisel Honor winner April Pulley Sayre!

Once again we’re calling upon an author named April to kick off our Potluck. You can see she’s pretty excited about Go, Go, Grapes!: A Fruit Chant  (Beach Lane Books, 2012), which is a companion book to her wildly popular Rah, Rah, Radishes!:A Vegetable Chant, released last year. Do I love a poet who gets kids excited about their fruits and veggies? You bet!

Many of you know that April and her husband Jeff are ardent, adventure-loving, world-traveling naturalists. April is so fond of vegetables, she’s been known “to clap with joy upon discovering a ripe tomato in her garden!”

April’s got us covered today with a call to healthy eating and a renewed appreciation for the colors, shapes, sizes, sheer beauty and nutritional goodness of fresh produce. She’s sharing two previously unpublished vegetable poems and a recipe for her favorite fruit salad.

via Edward KT


A vegetable poem should never finish straight.
Like a cuke,
it should be bumpy and twist.
It should have a yellow sandy side,
a bit of grit
to remind us
where it was grown.

Copyright © 2012 April Pulley Sayre. All rights reserved.

via Alternative Heat



Corn leaves snake
Wind blown, slither.
Rustling like rattlers
Over October roads.

Copyright © 2012 April Pulley Sayre. All rights reserved.


April: I love recipes so simple they become instinct. Here’s my updated version of the Waldorf Salad of my childhood.

We don’t keep mayo around the house. So I just cut up the apples, add celery, pecans, and raisins, and a dab of whatever yogurt we have in the fridge.  Plain is best but even strawberry is kind o’ fun and a nice shocking pink. If you’re a diehard mayo fan, the first time you eat it, you’ll be like…hmph, where’s my mayo? But by the second or third time you’ll think this is natural apple salad. With yogurt in it, it’s good for packing for picnics and such…less likely to spoil than a mayo-based dressing.

To decorate your apple salad platter, have fun with fruit shapes. Pull out those cookie cutters and do fruit cutouts, instead! I played around with these while I was developing the last spread of fruit art for Go, Go, Grapes!: a Fruit Chant (May 22, 2012).


Rah, rah, raspberries! Go, go, grapes!

Savor the flavors. Find fruity shapes!

Blackberries. Blueberries. Bag a bunch.

Strawberry season? Let’s munch-a-munch!


April Pulley Sayre has authored over 50 children’s books including Trout Are Made of Trees,  Secrets of Sound, and Rah, Rah, Radishes!: a Vegetable Chant. Her read-aloud nonfiction books, known for their lyricism and scientific precision, have been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese, and Korean. Her book Vulture View received ALA’s Theodor “Seuss” Geisel Honor Award. Stars Beneath Your Bed: the Surprising Story of Dust won the AAAS/Subaru/SB&F Prize for Excellence; Sayre is a three time winner of the John Burroughs Award for nature writing for young people. Sayre shares her rain forest adventures, wildlife gardening knowledge, and the writing process with 20,000 children and educators each year during conferences and visits nationwide. More information on her work can be found at www.aprilsayre.com.


Previously: Potluck Appetizers/Guest List, Giveaway and Door Prize info here. Bon Appétit!


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

40 thoughts on “going natural with april pulley sayre

  1. Jama, thank you for introducing me to yet another author that I am unfamiliar with. I just checked our community libraries. We have around 50 titles of April’s works – but mostly her travel/country and animal books – I didn’t see any of these food-themed picture books. I shall make a list and recommend to our Library Board. Thanks for sharing this! 🙂


    1. She really has an impressive catalog of books, doesn’t she? Her foodie chant picture books would definitely make a nice addition to your library system. 🙂


  2. Rah, rah, April! I’m a *huge* fan of April’s work. When I was in the Vermont College program (April had graduated ahead of me), I found “Stars Beneath Your Bed” as part of her thesis and I was gobsmacked. Who else could write about dust and make it sound wonderful? Vultures are my favorite birds ever, so I was thrilled when April did a book on them (with Steve Jenkins’ art!). Now I’m keen to make fruit shapes–so cute! Not so sure about giving up my Miracle Whip for Waldorf salad. Some things are too ingrained! Great kick-off post for Poetry Month!


    1. “Stars Beneath Your Bed” was about dust? It *does* sound wonderful. Didn’t realize you were such a vultures fan. They’re ugly, for sure, but fascinating just the same.

      I’ve used plain yogurt for fruit salads before and it’s delicious! You feel less guilty and can eat more :).


  3. Oh, yum – Vegetable Poetry.
    Equally yummy: a tablespoon of curry powder, a cup of (vege, in my case) chicken and slivered almonds instead of pecans in that Waldorf, with plain Greek-style yogurt instead of strawberry – the best chicken salad, ever.

    Lots of tasty selections, here!


  4. My grandmother used to feed us Waldorf salad! Have not had it in a long time – I will try it with yogurt!

    It is nice “meeting” you, April!! I love your poetry…I grew up around cornfields and your poem made me think of the rattling stalks in the fall that we would hide in.


  5. Like Candice, I love April’s starry dust book, and I love vultures! What a great way to start this year’s pot luck, Jama. April’s cut up fruit characters made me smile, and those two short poems, especially the first with “a bit of grit,” are lip-smacking delicious.


  6. What a Yummy start to your month, Jama. We have several of April’s books in our library & now I’ll have to find and really take a look. I’m not so knowledgeable about the range of picture books out there, so this is great to see. I have a friend who always brings Waldorf salad to our Thanksgiving dinners-his specialty. I wonder if I can convince him that yogurt is a key. I love both poems, but that final one brings back my memories of playing in corn fields. thanks Jama and April for a very digestible post!


    1. How nice to have a special Waldorf salad friend :).

      I, too, will be looking for more of April’s books. There are quite a few to track down!


  7. My kids are big fans of Rah Rah…but when we bought actual radishes they said “Yuck! Too spicy!”

    I’ll compromise on one-half Miracle Whip (like candice) and one half Greek plain yogurt. mmm..


    1. Glad you liked April’s poems. Love her latest picture books. Don’t think she considers herself a “poet” per se, more an author of lyrical verse/prose. It was so nice of her to accommodate my request for poetry. 🙂


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