cornelius discovers iva honeysuckle

While we were busy Poetry Potlucking last month, Candice Ransom’s brand new chapter book,  Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World (Disney/Hyperion, 2012), was released into the wild.

With her loyal canine companion Sweetlips, Iva embarked on her very first adventure — to find buried treasure right in her own little hometown of Uncertain, Virginia. Cornelius loved the book so much he read it three times in a row and was thrilled when we told him we were going to surprise Candice at her Book Launch Party. He was hoping he might get to eat some Preacher Cookies like Iva did in the book.

So, on a beautiful sunny Saturday, we headed down to the bbgb Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia — “bbgb” standing for “bring back good books,” “buy a book give a book,” or whatever else you like (Cornelius says, “bears believe in good books”).

Jenesse, Candice, and Jill

bbgb is owned by Jill and Jenesse, two very funny, friendly, energetic friends who decided to open a shop together on the day they met. Hooray for indie bookstores! bbgb is located in a little blue building on a quaint residential street in Richmond’s museum district. Blue and green balloons (to match Iva’s cover) greeted us on our arrival.

Candice read two chapters from Iva to a very attentive group of kids who asked great questions. My favorite: “Has anyone ever stolen any of your ideas?” She also showed us a couple of things mentioned in the story — old National Geographic magazines and a tire record book, as well as one of her hand-decorated writer’s notebooks.

Then everyone got their books signed, asked Candice more questions, and munched on Preacher Cookies, which Iva often washed down with unsweetened Kool-Aid, compliments of her best friend Walser Compton. Cornelius ate his fare share and even got to take some cookies home.

All in all, a great day — it was such fun surprising Candice, whom I had not seen since 2009. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog interview, where Candice will tell us a lot more about Iva and you’ll have a chance to win a signed copy of Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World!

Oh, on the way home, Cornelius got hungry again so we stopped for a little Southern homestyle cooking. We thought about Iva with every bite. As soon as we got home, Cornelius wanted to read the book again. Of course he’s been talking about becoming an explorer just like Iva. All he needs now is a good dowsing stick.

Fried catfish sandwich, seafood salad, macaroni and cheese and fries.
Peach Cobbler for dessert!



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

16 thoughts on “cornelius discovers iva honeysuckle

  1. What good fortune, that you were able to reunite with Candice at her book signing!! Hard to imagine a nicer surprise…

    Good that Cornelius was able to make the trip, too! He has a nose for these things, doesn’t he? I suspect he got along famously with Iva Honeysuckle, and that they shared lots of Discoveries at bbgb, seeing as how he’s such an adventurous sort. (Does he own any binoculars? How ’bout cargo shorts?)


    1. Cornelius does indeed have binoculars. Cargo shorts? Not yet. Brushed fur is his attire of choice. He’s all set for high adventure and definitely found a kindred spirit in Iva.


  2. What Jama doesn’t mention is that we have the *exact* same cameras and we were both snapping pictures and having the store people take pictures of us together. We worried only a few seconds about getting back our own cameras until we realized Jama’s camera would have food and Cornelius pictures and mine would be filled with shots of Winchester and vintage junk!

    That was the best possible bookstore to have Iva’s launch. And having an unexpected surprise was icing on the cupcake. Now….where did y’all have that down-home meal?


    1. We stopped at Mama-J’s in downtown Richmond. Friendly folk and it definitely felt down-home. Thumbs up to the peach cobbler especially! 🙂


      1. Next time, if there is one, try Croakers in the Jackson Ward district. A real downhome fish place, tiny little diner, wonderful food!


  3. What a wonderful surprise, and wonderful day. I love Cornelius keeping an eye on the cookies while Candice signs. Just turned in grades, then have a talk to give on Wed, but one of the first things on my summer list is to meet Iva in person. I’m keeping that book at the top of my pile!


    1. Congrats on getting those grades done! It’s wise to keep Iva at the top of your pile — you would surely hear from her if you didn’t :).


  4. I’m intrigued by any book that Cornelius loves so much! “Iva” gotta read that one!
    I headed right out to Google and got many versions of the Preacher Cookie recipe. Yum! We make something similar with chow mein noodles. Very, very tasty!


    1. Yes, there are a lot of recipes out there; some of them called “No Bake Cookies.” Dangerously simple to make :).


    2. I think the nobake cookies with chow mein noodles are called “Ranger Cookies” or “Santa’s Whiskers.” Can you tell I’m a fan of no-bake anything?


      1. Sometimes…the faster (or easier) from stovetop to stomach, the better!

        (I can sense some pastisseries groaning in response to my oh-so-American comment)


  5. After all the talk, I was confirmed that those are what I call Rudolph’s Antlers. I’ve also made them into bird’s nests with jelly beans in the middle. We could have a ‘no-bake’ fest. But-loved hearing about this book & the fabulous bookstore. We have two great indy bookstores here in Denver, but a few others have disappeared-sad & true! Love that bear who travels, guess because of the lure of Iva & the food to come! Thank you Jama!


    1. Cornelius will go anywhere food is involved :).

      We’ve lost most of the indie bookstores in our area — there used to be several just for children’s books but they are long gone. It’s very encouraging to hear of someone opening a new indie store.

      No-bake goodies are great for the summer, when it’s too hot to turn your oven on. I’ve seen those cookies with the jelly beans in the middle :).


  6. Very very nice! Reminded me a little bit of my time in New Orleans last year. Mouth-watering photos! 🙂 Glad to hear about the reunion with Candice. The preacher cookies look yummy!


    1. I’m a fan of Southern cooking and Southern hospitality. 🙂 New Orleans is a magical place. Would love to visit again sometime. Beignets! Jambalaya! Jazz!


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