movember madness: mustache picture books and chocolaty cookies

“Girls always make passes at guys with mustaches.” (Unknown hairy person)

Good Morning!

I mustache you a question, but I’ll shave it for later.🙂

Happy Movember (a tad late)! Time once again to help raise awareness of men’s health issues by sprouting a dapper cookie duster.

I, for one, have always been mad for staches.

“Really?”

You bet. Who was it that said “A man without a mustache is a man without a soul”? When I was growing up, I noticed the smartest, funniest, hottest men all had staches: Albert Einstein, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Tom Selleck, David Crosby, Mark Twain, Teddy Roosevelt, Kurt Vonnegut, Edgar Allan Poe, Santa Claus, The Monopoly Man, did I mention Tom Selleck?

And have you noticed the best lines from movies are all about staches?

Nobody puts Mustache in a corner.

and

You can’t handle the mustache!

and

Say hello to my leetle mustache.

Or what about that incredibly incisive TV question:

Where is your mustache, Jake from State Farm?

Positively hair raising!😀

What’s that? You say you can’t grow your own? Your upper lip is as smooth, soft and hairless as a baby’s . . .

Not to worry, cause today we’re gonna help you get your mighty mo on by serving up four fanstashtic picture books and a delicious cache of chocolaty cookies. Read ’em and eat!

*   *   *

A BABY, A BOY, A KING AND A MONSTER

Marvelous mustaches have found their way into a number of fabulous picture books. They’re a source of great fun, to be sure, but also a means to explore personality, individuality, and identity. It’s interesting to think about mustache connotations, too — good or bad?

Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos and Joy Ang (Clarion Books, 2013).

mbabyWhen Baby Billy is born with a mustache, his family takes it in stride. They are reassured when he nobly saves the day in imaginary-play sessions as a cowboy or cop and his mustache looks good-guy great. But as time passes, their worst fears are confirmed when little Billy’s mustache starts to curl up at the ends in a suspiciously villainous fashion. Sure enough, “Billy’s disreputable mustache led him into a life of dreadful crime.” Plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor and cartoonish illustrations make this the perfect baby-shower gift for a mustachioed father-to-be.

Just the idea of a baby with a mustache will get kids giggling, and they’ll enjoy following Baby Billy’s imaginative play as he takes on different identities and disrupts the activities of his older siblings. Things get even more interesting when Billy turns into a “bad guy” and gets thrown into “jail” (his playpen). With time comes remorse and welcome reassurance from his parents that everyone has a bad-mustache day once in awhile. A fun, offbeat, emotionally resonant story that celebrates possibilities while examining relatable behavior issues.  A crackerjack surprise ending, too! (Coming in March 2015: Mustache Baby Meets His Match.)

*   *   *

Big, Bushy Mustache by Gary Soto and Joe Cepeda (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998).

bigbushyIt’s almost Cinco de Mayo, and Ricky’s class is going to put on a play to celebrate the festive Mexican holiday. When asked to choose his costume, Ricky picks a big, bushy mustache, just like his dad’s. He’s tired of everyone telling him he looks like his mother. After all, he’s a boy—he wants to look like his Papi. Although he’s supposed to leave it in school, Ricky wears the mustache home, reveling all the way in how grown-up it makes him feel. But by the time he gets there, the mustache is gone, and Ricky dreads having to tell his teacher what happened.

Lucky for him, his Mama and Papi have a plan. Ricky is delighted the next morning when his Mama hands him a new big, bushy mustache—fresh from the smiling face of his clean-shaven Papi! With humor and tenderness, Soto evokes a warm celebration of both the beloved tradition of Cinco de Mayo and the strong bonds of love between father and son.

This heartwarming story is beautifully told and every boy who has ever wanted to be “just like Dad” will relate. Readers will also understand Ricky’s feelings of pride and empowerment when he’s wearing the fake mustache — the masculine, grown-up feeling it gives him. They will nod knowingly as Ricky panics over losing the mustache and feel relieved and happy when it’s “found.” A sprinkling of Spanish gives this satisfying story its distinctive flavor, but its truths are universal.

*   *   *

Mustache! by Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell (Disney-Hyperion, 2011).

mustachecornellKing Duncan is terribly handsome, but a terrible king. His kingdom is in ruins, and when his subjects appeal for help, he only builds more tributes to his handsome face. His subjects are finally ready to stand up for themselves, and they have just the plan to get out of this hairy situation.

A mustache….because sometimes good looks alone just aren’t enough.

Oh, extreme vanity and self absorption, thou name is Duncan! Here is a king who cares only for himself, neglecting the needs of his entire kingdom. He’s the perfect “villain” to boo and hiss at, while we root for the masses, who delightfully display their mustachio-graffiti-making chops. Here the mustache is a defacing, a means of protest, hilarious and affecting, maddening to King Duncan. Cornell’s cinematic spreads, exaggerated countenances (check out the schnozz on Duncan!), and host of visual gags ramp up the suspense and irony in this whisker-twitching tale of comeuppance. The painted mustaches on all the Wanted posters are fabuloso!

*   *   *

Mo’s Mustache by Ben Clanton (Tundra Books, 2013).

mustacheMo is a monster who just got a mustache. A big, black, beautiful mustache. Everybody likes Mo’s mustache. Now Knot, Dot, Nib, Tutu, Bob, Bill, and Ben all have mustaches too. In fact, soon EVERYBODY has a mustache! Why is everyone copying Mo? And how will he (and his mustache) ever stand out?

A wonderfully silly book about style and individuality, sure to grow on readers who don’t have facial hair — and even those who do!

I’ve saved my absolute fave for last. There are lots of things I love about this one — the cool monsters, the pitch perfect text and pacing, the hilarious crowd-sourced comments presented in groovy speech bubbles, and Imp, the invisible monster with an invisible scarf. Quirky humor.

But what I appreciate most is that this isn’t yet another story about a male and his mustache (or lack thereof) –here we have equal opportunity mustaches. All ilks, shapes, colors and both genders get to experience the hairy lip, tip-of-the-snout joy of monster stachiness.

And there’s something wonderfully affecting and effective about the beautiful simplicity of the telling. All the emotions ring true, our man Mo has an epiphany, and he manages to trump his friends in the end. Also love the playing with font styles and sizes and that yellow star on the tip of Mo’s tail. A thoroughly delightful, stylish, suave and savvy way to explore individuality and peer pressure. And how can you not love the Mustache Manual poster on the reverse side of the book jacket? Huzzah all the way!

*   *   *

YOU CAN HAVE YOUR MUSTACHE AND EAT IT TOO

In early November we noticed something a wee bit different about visitors to the Alphabet Soup kitchen.

Here a stache, there a stache, everywhere a stache stache . . .

Only one thing to do, of course. Whip up a batch of chocolate mustache cookies!

For this project, we called upon the services of Chef Chocolat, another recent graduate of Le Cordon Bear.

He was happy to test out our new Munchstaches cookie cutter set, and selected three of the five stache styles to make: the Imperial, the Bristle Brush, and the Baron.

Imperial, Bristle Brush, and Baron

The key to making these is to use a recipe without any leavening agents, and to mix, roll and cut the dough before chilling it. Once the cut staches are laid out on your parchment-paper-lined sheets, chill for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Cut the cookies out first.
Then turn over the cutter to stamp the design.

We love these cutters and the cookies were delish. The perfect way to celebrate Movember🙂.

ROLLED CHOCOLATE MUSTACHE COOKIES

Makes:

  • around 30 – 2-1/2 inch cookies
  • around 16 – 3-1/2 inch cookies
  • around 12 – 4-1/2 inch cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Using your mixer, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.

2. With the mixer on low, add the flour to the butter mixture gradually, until the two are thoroughly blended.

3. Turn the dough onto the work surface and divide it into two or three equal portions.

4. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper dusted lightly with cocoa powder. Roll the dough to roughly 1/4 inch thickness before stamping out your cookies and removing the excess dough.

5. Emboss cookies if necessary, remembering to dust the embosser with cocoa powder before each use. Repeat the rolling and stamping process until all of your dough is used up.

6. Place the unbaked cookies onto parchment paper lined baking sheets and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

8. Bake the cookies in the center of your oven for 10-16 minutes depending on their size. The cookies should still seem quite soft but the edges will have darkened somewhat. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

~Adapted from Cookie Craft by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer

Tips:

  • Make sure to dust both sides of the cutter each time. Use a toothpick to gently loosen the dough from the cutter if it doesn’t release right away.
  • Tape the bottom piece of parchment paper to your counter or pastry board for easier rolling.
  • Channeling Tom Selleck while working enhances flavor.

*   *   *

And now for that question:

What’s your fave mustache style?

(click to enlarge)
Mine is the Selleck! (Oh, did I mention him already?)🙂

HAPPY MOVEMBER!

Remember the slogan: “I stache, therefore I am.”

And remind the men in your life to get regular check-ups!

———————————-

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

20 thoughts on “movember madness: mustache picture books and chocolaty cookies

  1. Every month is a “Mo” month in our house as my youngest is named Maureen and goes by Mo. She’s of two minds about “Movember” being about mustaches – she is 11 after all. This is such a great post, Jama! I’ll show my Mo when she gets home for school and I think the book, Mustache Baby Meets His Match is in our future. (We got Mo’s Mustache from the library but she didn’t like it – again, 11 is a tricky age when it comes to humor that might be too close to home, or her name. :o) Thanks for the smiles this morning. =)

    Like

    1. Sorry to hear Mo didn’t share my enthusiasm for Mo’s Mustache. Humor is tricky and subjective and so dependent on age level. Glad you enjoyed the post, Bridget!

      Like

  2. I will be sure to point D. toward this, as he is currently sporting a FAIRLY DREADFUL Movember ‘stache. I loathe it, but he and the guys in his office are loving it. *sigh*

    Like

Comments are closed.