[review + recipe + giveaway] Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmers’ Market by Irene Latham and Mique Moriuchi

Grab your shopping baskets and bags, let’s go to the Farmers’ Market!

In Fresh Delicious (Wordsong, 2016), Irene Latham and Mique Moriuchi invite us to join a group of adorable animal friends as they celebrate the wonders of farm fresh fruits and veggies. This mostly free verse smorgasbord of 21 poems is chock full of mouthwatering sensory details, clever imagery and playful metaphors to whet the appetite and tease the imagination.

While nibbling on these whimsical poems, curious munchkins will meet basil (“a bouquet of minty green butterfly wings”), delight in how ears of corn listen to the sun, and consider that okra is really “a mountain of mouse-sized swords/stored in fuzzy sheaths.” Afterwards, they’ll likely be anxious to see, smell, touch and taste the produce in person, making up little scenarios so they can write their own poems.

Does crookneck squash really look like a question mark? How is zucchini like an exclamation point? Will wild honey really make our tongues “buzz with pleasure”? Can’t wait for summer, when it’ll be time to propel those seeds out of our mouths “like shooting stars.”

Oh, the fun! Mique Moriuchi’s vibrant color-saturated acrylic collages make the flavors and textures of Latham’s chewy, juicy, crunchy words really POP!

Kids will have a ball not only counting and identifying the fresh produce, they will also love seeing exactly what their animal friends are up to. Can’t help but love a blue elephant balancing a red bell pepper with its trunk, a cute gray bunny sheltering himself from the rain with a big lettuce leaf, or a thoughtful fox tucking potatoes in a dark dry drawer so they will feel at home. Please don’t miss the monkey on a skateboard or the moose and bear canoeing with their pea passengers. πŸ™‚

The book is infused with a childlike sensibility that’s refreshing and endearing; the simple two-word title of this collection couldn’t be more apt — Fresh DeliciousΒ allows us to see familiar things in new ways as it charms us with the tasty possibilities of language — just what we crave with good poetry. There’s absolutely no chance of going away hungry with six kid-friendly recipes topping off this joyous feast: Cool Tomato-Cucumber-Onion Salsa, Fruit Kebabs with Yogurt Dip, Lettuce Wraps, Cheesy Confetti Frittata (recipe below), Mini (Many) Veggie Pizza, and Easy Strawberry Ice Cream. Mmmmm!

Today I’m pleased to share a little Fresh Delicious sampler platter. Hope you’re wearing your best bibs and aprons, and that this little burst of summer’s bounty will chase away your winter blues. Enjoy!


Art Β© 2016 Mique Moriuchi



White tents
shade truck beds
that sprout
homegrown peaks
in summertime hues.

Farmers call.
Empty baskets sway
as they wait

for tomatoes, corn,
peaches, and more.
What will
we carry home




a fleet
of green

in a wicker sea




Right-side up
they shine
like ornaments

strung and hung
on a holiday

Flip them
upside down
and they

a sunset-colored



are sweet
but not
too sweet.

One fits
and thumb.

They burst
like flavor-filled
in waffles
and muffins.

But the best
thing about
is the way
they change

your lips
and teeth
and tongue
from regular
to purple-blue.




A dozen

or green.

the secret

and find
a trove
of farmer’s



What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tomato
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • nonstick cooking spray

Ask a grown-up helper to turn on the oven and chop the onion, bell pepper, and tomato.

Combine all ingredients except eggs in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, crack the eggs. Remove any shell bits. Whisk the eggs until blended.

Pour the contents of both bowls into an oven-safe dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. (I like to use an iron skillet.)

Ask a grown-up helper to bake the dish at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the mixture is firm.

Ask a grown-up helper to transfer the frittata to a plate.



FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers’ Market
written by Irene Latham
illustrated by Mique Moriuchi
published by Wordsong, 2016
Picture Book Poetry Collection for ages 4-8, 40 pp.
*Includes 6 recipes
**Glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus
***Now available for pre-order:
On shelves March 8, 2016!

β™₯ Nice pairing with Too Many Tomatoes by Eric Ode and Kent Culotta πŸ™‚

β™₯Β Click here to read a wonderful interview at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme, where Irene talks about the genesis of Fresh Delicious and her other new book When the Sun Shines on Antarctica.



For a chance to win a brand new copy of Fresh Delicious, simply leave a comment at this post telling us what your favorite fruit or vegetable is no later than midnight Wednesday, February 24, 2016. You can also enter by sending an email with “FRESH DELICIOUS” in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Winner will be announced next Friday. Good Luck!


poetry fridayThe lovely and talented Donna Smith is hosting the Roundup at Mainely Write. I imagine she’s a big blueberry fan :). Scamper over and check out the full menu of poetic goodies on this week’s menu. Have a fresh and delicious weekend!!




wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best bibs and aprons, and come join the fun!




*Interior spreads from Fresh Delicious posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright Β© 2016 Irene Latham, illustrations Β© 2016 Mique Moriuchi, published by Wordsong, 2016. All rights reserved.

Copyright Β© 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

85 thoughts on “[review + recipe + giveaway] Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmers’ Market by Irene Latham and Mique Moriuchi

  1. I love the imagery in the poems, and the art is so sweet and colorful. Beautiful collaboration!
    How can I possibly choose one favorite fruit or vegetable? I love them all!(except okra- and knowing it’s “mouse-sized swords” doesn’t help! πŸ™‚
    Ok, if I must choose one: fresh local strawberries

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a perfect pairing here of author and illustrator – a very cheery, attractive book!

      No okra for you? The mice will be happy since there’s more for them. Okra’s stickiness put me off when I was little, but now if they’re sliced up in gumbo or something I don’t mind them at all. I hear you on the fresh local strawberries!


  2. Oh, apples!! Especially honeycrisp-don’t they keep the doctor away?? Charming book– can’t wait to get it for our grands.❀️❀️❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now you, and Irene, have made us wish even more for spring when the markets start again! I have this wonderful book, Jama, so leave me out of the drawing. My favorite poem you’ve shared is the cucumber one-those wonderful “submarines”. I always have to hit the markets early to find baby cucumbers so I can make pickles! I love that Irene has included recipes, great for kids, and the rest of us too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This might be my favorite children’s poetry collection of Irene’s yet! I love the whimsy and playfulness in both words and art. Irene’s respect for Valerie Worth shines through as well, the way she looks closely at each fruit and vegie and finds a fresh take and unique character. Great review as always, Jama. Love, Mango Girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mango Girl,

      You must be my twin sister. I love mangoes but boy are they hard to peel — such slippery devils. But when you’ve got one that’s ripe and oh-so-sweet and the juice runs down your chin, it’s worth the trouble.

      Interesting point about Valerie Worth — yes I see that now.

      Mango’s Other Girl


  5. I am SO making that CHEESY CONFETTI FRITTATA! (And yes, I am yelling.)
    I like tomatoes. Diced, sliced, sauce, juice and fresh off the vine warm with a little bit of dirt and a whole lotta pungent leafy smell.
    I can hardly wait for breakfast tomorrow. Maybe supper tonight. Thanks for sharing a gorgeous, fun book (again), Jama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But you are right – I love blueberries, too! Why in college my nickname was “Blueberry”! My grandchildren love picking blueberries off our bushes, somehow never getting any in the cup, but ending up with purple-blue teeth.


    2. Yay — I’m glad I posted a GF recipe that you can actually make and eat! Your tomato description has got me drooling — trust a poet to pack on the sensory details. πŸ™‚

      And I knew you had to be a blueberry girl — Maine’s got the BEST blueberries. I envy your bushes. Irene’s poem about the purple blue teeth and tongue was spot on!


  6. Jama, I love your photos here! The scenes you’ve created with your stuffed animals, produce, and the book are adorable! I love this book, but as its editor, I’m of course biased. However, let me highly recommend the Easy Strawberry Ice Cream recipe among the others at the end. My kids and I love it. Yum! I love nearly all fruits but especially blueberries (don’t include me in your drawing though).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Rebecca — thanks for working with Irene and Mique to create such an adorable, mouthwatering book! I will take your tip about the strawberry ice cream :).


  7. Substitute your weekly PF posts for Irene’s utterly delightful book, and you have a description of your site and the service you perform each week.
    “The book [This review site] is infused with a childlike sensibility that’s refreshing and endearing; the simple two-word title of this collection [a recently reviewed book] couldn’t be more apt β€” Fresh Delicious allows us to see familiar things in new ways as it charms us with the tasty possibilities of language β€” just what we crave with good poetry.”
    Thanks and God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Every time I read your posts, I shake my head. I simply can’t believe that you don’t have a full-time (paid) professional life as an author, (copy)writer, media reviewer, newspaper or magazine columnist etc. Your posts truly are extraordinary in their exceptional marketability. Thank you for enriching us with your talent, shared gratis. Amazing!


      2. Yes, but I HAVE published books and articles/essays and stories in periodicals. I am an author. Writers write to create, because they have to write, not because they think they’re going to get rich. I read an article recently that said the average writer in the U.S. makes a salary that’s below poverty level. It’s not fair or desirable, but there it is.

        For me, blogging is a different kind of writing, a great creative outlet. I have no desire to monetize this blog; it’s a way of giving back to the children’s book community.


  8. I love this post and this book! I’ll admit that I saw the blueberries on the page and immediately thought, “Oh no! The book will be stained!” I know … I’m just a tad bit obsessive.

    While I like fruit, I’m much more of a veggie person. I love heirloom tomatoes fresh from the garden, but my absolute favorite veggie is the beet. I adore them roasted.

    Thanks for this yummy review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beets? Does Sara Lewis Holmes know about this? πŸ™‚

      Have no fear, no blueberry stains on the book. Mr. C and I made sure each blueberry we used was dry and very firm — no oozing juices. I’m also very careful with taking care of books, can’t even stand a little wrinkle in the dust jacket.


  9. I would like for a grown-up helper to actually make that frittata for me πŸ™‚ The illustrations fit the book so well, don’t they? That cucumber poem fills me with delight.
    I am a big fan of fruit salad, but if I had to pick one it would be a nice juicy nectarine, I think. Or strawberries. Roasted zucchini or brussels sprouts for the veg. Do I win for being the only brussels sprout fan around?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I LOVE roasted brussels sprouts, so you’re not the only fan. I see your prefer nectarines to fuzzy peaches?

      Like you, I would like a permanent live-in grown-up helper/personal chef to make the frittata and all the other recipes for me. Hey, maybe Irene does take-out :D.


  10. I can’t wait to share this book with my students. I know they will love it as much as I do just from your preview, Jama. While I don’t love to eat peppers, I do love the imagery of that “sunset-colored song.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, Jama, this post is FRESH DELICIOUS in every way! You are such an artist, the way you’ve posed furry friends and fruits and veggies with these pages… I am smiling and smiling! I happen to be a Georgia peach by birth, but I have such memories from my grandparents garden — watermelons (esp. the yellow-bellied ones!), shelling peas with my grandma, fresh fried corn — and as an adult I ache for fresh (delicious!) tomatoes when they are out of season…. and then there’s strawberries! I do love strawberries. Impossible to choose! The great thing about writing this book was that I didn’t have to; I could just show my love for all of them. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for the gift and inspiration that is this post. Mwah! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank YOU for writing these tasty poems, Irene. Your love for the fruits and veggies shines through — you’re able to find something unique and different about each one, sure to delight all the kids lucky enough to read this book. Cucumbers and bell peppers and okra will certainly never be the same for me. Loved hearing about your grandmother’s garden too!


  12. As always, a delicious treat devouring words and images as you introduce us to a snap-happy book that’s fresh out of the garden. I too loved the cucumber poem page. And what you did with the pea-boat page! As to favourite F&V – I’m going to cheat and say summer fruits; nectarines, peaches, watermelons & mangoes, to name a few.


  13. I love these poems, and I love the colorful and delicious way you’ve framed them so very much. The crunch and color and sweetness (though I’m also a roasted brussels sprout fan) is just what I needed on a cold day. So much fun and hope! (I’ll abstain from the drawing as I’ve ordered the book).


  14. What a delicious post for a book that looks equally delicious–putting it on my wish list today!
    I’m not sure I’ve met a fruit or vegetable that I don’t like (well, eggplant doesn’t always like me…) but since I’m an apple-a-day kind of gal, I’ll say apple. And you don’t need to put me in the drawing as I’m planning to buy the book.


  15. Yummy – what a stunning book! And what a wonderful way to focus kids on the qualities of beautiful, healthy, natural foods. Rather than doing something negative (like taking away pop, chips, burgers etc.) it focuses on these Fresh Delicious beauties.


  16. What a cute book! The art + typography is amazing. I have a sudden urge to go to Whole Foods… (Farmers’ markets always start too early in the morning) BTW, I love brussel sprouts!


  17. I love absolutely everything about this book — the message, the art, the fun poems. We live in an area ripe with farmers markets. Favorite fruit or veggie? Yikes. I love them all. Um, okay, I’ll pick: apricots, no raspberries, no sweet potatoes, no garlic scapes …. Oh shoot. Let’s say heirloom tomato still warm from the garden sun.


  18. This post makes me hungry, hungry, hungry for summer. Fresh watermelon, mmmmm! Or sweet corn in New Hampshire, picked fresh and yummy to eat, even uncooked! Can’t wait to get hold of this book. I love what you did with these pictures too! Such artistry!


  19. My mouth is watering for this book! I absolutely love the care and whimsy you employ to showcase books, Jama. (btw, my favorite fruit at the moment is Cara Cara oranges – perfect this time of year.)


  20. Scrumptious. Got a wee sneak peek at this and knew it would be a big hit! Big juicy congrats to Irene and Mique Moriuchi, and thanks for sharing, Jama.
    By the way, Mr. Cornelius et. al. sure had fun with this one, didn’t they?! XO


  21. Jama, you made my mouth water thinking of all the vegetables I love via Irene’s wonderful poetry. I call that poetrylicious-the images, the new thoughts, the bright colors-a potpourri of word magic and you rolled it out for us as soft as dough. So my favorite vegetable is an eggplant. I grew up on those wonderful purple veggies that can be grilled to perfection for any summer barbecue. Thanks for the treat today and the great peek into Irene’s book.


  22. Ok, you got me: these poems are adorable. I especially like the idea of lettuce tasting of rain. Also, the one about eggs, and being like treasure and gold on the inside – really neat.

    I would be hard-pressed to come up with a single favorite fruit, as I like a LOT of fruits, and my favorite varies with the seasons: strawberries, peaches, apricots (which I almost NEVER get to have unless I’m in CA because I don’t know any local place that grows them around here and the ones in the market are always terrible), melons, pineapple, apples (in fall, especially self-picked apples!), ruby red grapefruit, bananas (a daily staple for me) – I definitely love fruit!

    Veggies … hmmm. Artichokes were always a treat growing up, and even more so now as they’re horrendously expensive here most of the time, so I don’t get them too often. But I also like lightly cooked asparagus, green beans (especially fresh-grown), tomatoes from our garden – LOTS of things from our garden!


  23. Lucky you to have a vegetable garden — nothing beats freshly picked. I’ve only had artichokes once or twice — seems like a lot of work to eat them. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a fresh apricot; used to like the dried ones, though. Can’t wait for Spring strawberries. πŸ™‚


  24. Jama,
    What a delicious post. What I love about coming to your blog are the graphics. I especially like the pea filled canoe in this one with a green sweater to match. Did you knit the sweater? Our Farmer’s Markets have star fruit, rambutan and fresh ginger, pineapple and coconuts. Bananas and avocados are ripe now too. I’m so enjoying living in paradise.


  25. Jama, I love this review of Irene’s book. I am writing a post today called Admire and one focus are Irene’s books. I am going to place a link to your post. Thanks.


Comments are closed.