[review+ recipe + giveaway] Fresh-Picked Poetry by Michelle Schaub and Amy Huntington

In just about a month, the farmers’ markets in our area will open for the season. Hooray! πŸ™‚

Can’t wait to wrap my lips around a juicy ripe strawberry, fix myself a crisp garden salad with baby lettuces, cucumber, radishes, green peppers, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, and dribble some local golden honey on a warm biscuit. I can just about smell the sweet, rejuvenating scent of ripe peaches and the aroma of freshly baked breads, cookies and muffins, and I can picture the colorful bouquets of Spring blooms.

Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market by Michelle Schaub and Amy Huntington, is just what we need to get us in the mood for the delicious bounty that awaits us. Michelle and Amy capture all the tantalizing sights, smells, sounds, and flavors of a bustling farmers’ market with 18 sprightly, sensory-rich poems and delightful, animated pictures packed with charming details.

The fun begins on the dedication page, where we see a farm family at sunrise loading crates full of freshly picked produce onto their pickup truck. Then down the road they go, with the opening poem’s happy declaration:

It’s market day.
Hooray, hooray!
Spy the wonders
on display:
rainbow carrots,
herb bouquets,
heaps of berries,
sample trays.

Once this celebratory tone is established, we meet a young girl eating cereal and strawberries while her big dog licks his chops. They’re in for a big day at the market!

EARLY RISERS

While you sleep,
snuggled tight,
farmers toil
by silver light.
Harvest, sort,
wash, and load.
Hop in trucks.
Hit the road.
Just as dawn
pinks the sky,
they arrive,
stretch, and sigh.
Set up tables,
tents, and bins.
By the time
your day begins,
the farmers’ day
is in full swing —
enjoy the bounty
that they bring.

Soon, an urban setting is gradually transformed as farmers set up their tents and tables. Young readers will quickly recognize the farm family we saw earlier, especially the boy and his dog, and we’ll meet his dad Farmer Rick, who takes great pains to set up his table just so.

click to enlarge

PILE UP

Farmer Rick’s meticulous
when setting up his stand.
He places all his items
into stacks precisely planned.
His cauliflower towers
take him eons to align.
His pyramids of peppers
show impeccable design.
Not one sloppy heap of beets,
no single misplaced pea.
Each veggie castle he constructs
has perfect symmetry.
But when Miss Mallory arrives,
Rick sports a wary smile —
she always picks her produce from
the bottom of the pile!

Then it’s off to explore the rest of the market, the newly befriended boy, girl, and their respective dogs having a grand old time sampling fruit (watch that dog!) and inhaling the transcendent aromas of the bakery table. Pure bliss!

DELIGHTFUL BITES

Alluring aromas float over tent tops —
a whiff of vanilla, a whisper of spice,
A hint of some cinnamon dusted on cupcakes,
a sniff of plump blackberries tucked into pies.

Follow your nose to the freshly baked loaves:
oatmeal, sourdough, whole wheat, and rye.
Croissants and muffins, still warm from the oven,
so tempting, so scrumptious. Which ones will you try?

Oh yes, that’s what I’m talkin’ about! After that poem, we’re floating on air as we enjoy the rest of the market with poems that pay homage to glorious dirt (which crops need to grow), sweet butter-dripping-down-your-chin corn on the cob, free-range eggs, clover honey (“liquid-gold alchemy”), mischievous blueberries and wild, on-the-run gooseberries. Yum!

But a farmers’ market is about more than just the food. There’s the “twing, twang, twiddle” of banjo and fiddle, the “dizzzy, whizzzy whirrr” of the grinder sharpening tools, and a chance to play dress up and get your face painted. A farmers’ market is about neighbors getting together, people making new friends, knowing the vendors on a first name basis (hello, Rick, Sally, Greg, Antonio!), the invigorating sense of community spirit, and pride in buying local.

Michelle’s poems sing with the music of engagement and vitality — they’re lively and fun to read aloud with their rollicking rhythms and inventive (never predictable) rhymes. “Wild Dreams in Two Voices” begs a performance — how often do we get to hear a Green Zebra Tomato talk to a Dinosaur Kale?

If these poems can be thought of as the soloist on a stage, then Amy’s fabulous illustrations serve as pitch perfect orchestral accompaniment, with a cool visual narrative that provides an interesting subtext for the poems and ties everything together. Munchkins will love following the boy and girl as they romp through the pages with their spirited dogs. πŸ™‚

Amy has populated the pages with a diverse cast of characters — young and old, black, white, and brown — all interacting and making the most of the experience as they chat, chew, laugh, browse, roam, dance, sip, chomp, relax, share, and savor. Her watercolor, graphite, ink, and digital full bleed spreads brim with joy, activity, and goodness, a surefire way to inspire everyone to visit their own farmers’ markets and, above all, to eat healthy.

If you’re hungry for a poetry picture book that’s plucky, informative and captivating, pick this one fresh from the vine and put it in your market basket right away. πŸ™‚

click to enlarge

LOCAL LOOT

Pirates dig for riches
on distant island shores.
Bargain hunters rummage
through shelves of old thrift stores.
Divers search for gems and gold
on ancient sunken ships.

We find and eat our treasures
on local market trips.

*

β™₯ GOOSEBERRY PIE RECIPE β™₯

Lucky us, Michelle is sharing one of her favorite recipes using farmers’ market produce. Thanks so much, Michelle! πŸ™‚

Michelle: Here’s a recipe to go along with the poem “Wild Gooseberry Chase” in Fresh-Picked Poetry. My father ALWAYS ordered gooseberry pie when we dined out at Poppin’ Fresh Pies (now Baker’s Square) when I was little. I never actually saw a gooseberry outside of a pie until I was an adult perusing my local farmers’ market. These elusive tart berries are only available in June and July. It might take some wild goose chasing to find them, but the hunt is worth it. They make one scrumptious pie.

Michelle's Gooseberry Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 quart green gooseberries (about 1-1/3 pounds)
  • 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pre-made refrigerator pie crusts

Directions

Pull off tops and tails of gooseberries and halve berries lengthwise. Cook berries and 1 cup sugar over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in tapioca and simmer, stirring occasionally, five minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter and cool.

Preheat oven to 400Β°F.

Fit bottom pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Cut top pie crust into 1-inch-wide strips. Fill shell with cooled filling. Brush edges with water.

Weave remaining dough strips over filling, forming a “lattice lace” pattern. Melt remaining tablespoon butter and brush over pastry. Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon sugar, avoiding edges.

Bake pie in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until edge is just golden. While pie is baking, cut a 12-inch square of foil. Put foil on top of pie to keep edge from burning and bake pie 30 minutes more, or until filling is bubbly and pastry strips are golden.

~ from Michelle Schaub, author of Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market (Charlesbridge, 2017), as posted at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

*

FRESH-PICKED POETRY: A Day at the Farmers’ Market
written by Michelle Schaub
illustrated by Amy Huntington
published by Charlesbridge, March 2017
Poetry Picture Book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.
*Includes “Fresh-Picked Reasons to Spend a Day at the Market,” singing the praises of farmers’ markets with a link to help you locate the one nearest you.

β™₯ Check out the Educator’s Guide at Michelle Schaub’s website.

β™₯ Lovely interview at Kidlit Takeaways!

β™₯ Enjoy the Official Book Trailer:

*

β™₯ This book pairs nicely with Too Many Tomatoes by Eric Ode and Kent Culotta and Fresh Delicious by Irene Latham and Mique Moriuchi, both featured previously at Alphabet Soup!

*

πŸ‘ SPECIAL BOOK GIVEAWAY! πŸ…

The publisher is generously donating a brand new copy for one lucky Alphabet Soup reader. For a chance to win, simply leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) April 12, 2017. You may also enter by sending an email with “FARMERS’ MARKET” in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!

*

Fresh Delicious author Irene Latham is our Poetry Friday host this week. Scamper over to Live Your Poem to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere. Enjoy your weekend!

*

 

This review 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 aprons and bibs, and come join the fun!


*Interior spreads published by permission of the publisher, text copyright Β© 2017 Michelle Schaub, illustrations Β© 2017 Amy Huntington, published by Charlesbridge. All rights reserved.

Copyright Β© 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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58 thoughts on “[review+ recipe + giveaway] Fresh-Picked Poetry by Michelle Schaub and Amy Huntington

  1. This was such a fun walk through the Farmers’ Market…I was wanting to make a pie by the time I was done… no markets here yet, but perhaps a pass through the produce department of the supermarket will suffice for today!
    Thanks, Jama, for sharing all this deliciousness today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we have to wait a little longer for the farmers’ markets around here to open too — something to look forward to! I wonder if gooseberries will make an appearance at our local market. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a gorgeous celebration. The being “caught blue-handed” made me smile. Our local markets give out plenty of samples, so we are not only blue, we’re a bit sticky at the end of it all. Good times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, you know I love this book, Jama & Michelle. The happiness of the market shines through on every page. One favorite is still “Pile Up”. I’ve seen that happen at my grocery! Thanks for a wonderful review, Jama!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve never seen a vegetable avalanche at the market. That must be something. I do marvel at the beautiful stacks of fruits and veggies, and am careful not to disrupt anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, this book looks delicious! I, too, love “Pile Up” – the vocabulary: meticulous, eons, impeccable, symmetry – wow! I love that young readers are introduced to new words in such a fun way – poetry! Another fabulous review, Jama, and introduction to Michelle’s poetry and Amy’s illustrations. Thank you! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so excited for this one!! Sadly I cannot enter the giveaway, being a foreign reader and all, but I will be sure to look for a copy at my local library! Farmer’s Markets are one of my favourite weekend activity, and thankfully I live in a very socially and environmentally-conscious city, so we can find local produce and products just about everywhere!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love Farmer’s Markets especially the honey and specialty breads! The aroma is glorious. Very cute poems. I love them all, especially “Local Loot”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely review, Jama! I’m also a fan of Michelle’s. Congrats, my poetry pal and to Amy for creating this yummy collection!

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  7. This looks wonderful! Thanks for introducing me to Michelle’s work, Jama! I have long been a fan of Amy Huntington’s art, and LOVE it here (especially her dogs, frogs & other creatures!) πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This book was my intro to both Amy’s and Michelle’s work. Was excited to see the book and liked it more than I anticipated. πŸ™‚

      Like

  8. Gooseberry pie! I didn’t even now gooseberries were a real thing! Oh, Jama, how you enrich my life in so many ways… and I was waiting for your post on this book (because I knew you HAD to get your hands on it.) It is a delight, isn’t it? And MIchelle is a delight, too. It was my pleasure to meet her at Poetry Camp this past fall. Yay for the farmers’ market! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, of course I was anxious to get my hands on this one and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! Used to hear about gooseberries when I lived in England but never tasted them. I don’t recall seeing them at our farmers’ markets here but now that I know when to look for them I might find some. πŸ™‚

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  9. I haven’t read this one yet, but your review makes me want to. It’s on my wish list. Thank you for sharing it, AND Michelle’s recipe for gooseberry pie. I’ve never had that either. Hmmmm… seems I’m behind on a few things! : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we all need to investigate gooseberries a bit more and taste them. Hope you see this book soon — I know you’ll enjoy it.

      Like

  10. I love the interesting and new veggies found at a farmer’s market. In the past year I’ve had watermelon radishes and celeriac. Who knew there were such things?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s interesting to discover new fruits and veggies. Never heard of watermelon radishes but I’ve seen pics of celeriac (not interested in tasting it, though). The sellers are sometimes just as interesting as their produce.

      Like

  11. Great cover & concept! You’re book is perfectly timed for the start of many farmer’s markets. I have a favorite farming family that I look for every season. They have the best fruits and veggies.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We are blessed to have year-round markets here, and I too have a favorite family spot to return to. Delightful poetry Jama with your wonderful spreads. This would be a great book to snuggle up with little ones for reading aloud.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This book looks delightful. I love the pictures as well as the poems and the trailer is cute, too. Congratulations to Michelle and Amy on this beautiful book, just in time for spring farmer’s markets!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh boy! Now I can’t wait for our market to open (only a few more weeks!) I love going to the farmers’ market and love seeing families and dogs, young and old shopping and interacting. What a great book.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Around here, the weekly farmer’s market runs year round. (You should visit!) I don’t go as often as I’d like, but when I do, it always feels like a celebration of food, fun, and community. Seems like Michelle and Amy’s book captures that feeling well!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I picked up a copy of this book a few weeks ago at Barnes and Noble. I was so surprised to find a couple of newly published poetry books there. The store’s poetry pickings are usually very slim. FRESH-PICKED POETRY is a fine collection!

    Liked by 1 person

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