[tasty review] Food Truck Fest! by Alexandra Penfold and Mike Dutton

Kogi Short Rib Tacos

 

So, what do you fancy right this minute?

A little sushi, falafel, spicy chili, or a pulled pork sandwich? Wanna wrap your lips around some Brazilian barbecue, dim sum, kimchi tacos, Indian dosas or souvlaki?

 

Souvlaki GR, NYC

 

If you’re craving something sweet, there’s ice cream, Filipino halo-halo, cupcakes, frozen yogurt, red velvet pancakes, or mini donuts.

 

Mama’s Apple Cider Donut Bites

 

What’s that? You’d like a bite of everything? Well, you needn’t drive to a dozen places — just go to the Food Truck Fest!

Brooklyn author Alexandra Penfold and Google Doodles illustrator Mike Dutton joyfully invite readers to rustle up their appetites and sip, slurp, chew, lick and munch right through their tasty new picture book, Food Truck Fest! (FSG, 2018).

Told in rollicking rhyming couplets, this lipsmacking romp details an exciting and oh-so-satisfying outing featuring our favorite kitchens-on-wheels.

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[review + giveaway] The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young

“Imagine, if you can, what the rest of the evening was like. How they crouched by the fire which blazed and leaped and made so much of itself in the little grate. How they removed the covers of the dishes, and found rich, hot, savory soup, which was a meal in itself, and sandwiches and toast and muffins enough for both of them.” ~ A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Reading Kate Young’s new cookbook is like sitting in the kitchen with a good friend and chatting endlessly about cherished stories while noshing on all manner of sweet and savory homemade treats.

Fancy a Room with a View iced coffee and meringue, a stack of Pippi Longstocking Swedish Pancakes, a slice of Moominland Pear and Lemon Birthday Cake, or a Franny and Zooey Chicken Sandwich?

If you’re a fan of her literary food blog, The Little Library Café, or read her Novel Recipes column in The Guardian, you know Kate is Australia-born, but now lives in London, where she works as a private cook and food writer who caters weddings and hosts regular supper clubs. With her lifelong passion for food in literature, she’s been able to strike a delicious chord with accessible, doable recipes and captivating personal stories.

The Little Library Cookbook: 100 Recipes from Your Favorite Books (Sterling Epicure, 2018), might be the most comprehensive literary cookbook I’ve come across in ten years of blogging, since it includes classic and contemporary works of fiction for both children and adults. It was just as much fun reading about old favorites as it was learning about new-to-me titles, which I’m anxious to read now that I know about all the food they contain. I certainly look forward to some stimulating bookish travel: what about Paris for tea (The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford), Holland for warm cinnamon rolls (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt), or Naples for pizza (My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante)?

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singing the picture book blues

“To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold —  brothers who know now they are truly brothers.” ~ Archibald MacLeish

Art ©2018 Ashley Crowley (The Boy and the Blue Moon)

 

I’m diving and flying into the deep blue today with a trio of recently published picture books. I love immersing myself in the beauty, wonder, and heart of these cleverly conceived and beautifully executed stories. Oh, for the ultimate blueness of water and sky!

Whether considering the unique “adventures” of a beloved object, pondering the many colors of the world, or taking a magical journey to the moon, these three blue ribbon titles will touch, delight, and inspire, and are already well on their way to becoming perennial favorites.

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Little Blue Chair by Cary Fagan and Madeline Kloepper (Tundra Books, 2017).  In this enchanting, heartwarming story, we follow the journey of a little blue wooden chair as it travels “from place to place and bottom to bottom.” It starts out as young Boo’s favorite chair; he sits in it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, reads on it outdoors and makes a tent around it. When he outgrows it, his mother leaves it by the mailbox, where a man with a truck picks it up.

He sells the blue chair to a junk shop, where it eventually goes home with a lady who uses it as a plant stand. Each time the chair is no longer needed, it is passed on to someone else who deems it perfect for his/her needs. The chair sails the high seas, is propped atop an elephant for rides, and is enjoyed as a birdseed platform and ferris wheel seat, before it’s won by another little boy, who uses it on his go-kart and as a king’s throne.

Held aloft by three balloons, the blue chair then floats back over the ocean and wondrously lands in the front garden of a grown-up Boo, who repaints it and passes it on to his daughter.

This story has a reassuring feeling of continuity to it, as the blue chair circles back to its original owner. Though the ending is a bit predictable, the narrative itself is not, as each time the chair changes hands the circumstances are novel and interesting. Kloepper’s charming ink and pencil illustrations make good use of white space, allowing the blue chair to take center stage in each scene. A whimsical, satisfying story about the rewards of repurposing, reminding us that the inherent value of any object is only limited by our imagination.

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[review] H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by Sydell Rosenberg and Sawsan Chalabi

#55 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.

Children’s umbrellas glistening in the rain, roadside sunflowers turning their heads, a dreaming cat encircled by its furry tail.

These are a few of my favorite “small moments” from this charming new picture book, H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by Sydell Rosenberg and Sawsan Chalabi (Penny Candy Books, 2018).

According to her daughter Amy Losak, “Syd” (who passed away in 1996) had a “gift for life,” a unique ability to find joy in small everyday moments that the average person might overlook. A keen observer with an innate spirit of adventure, she was able to make the ordinary extraordinary through her haiku and senryū.

 

Syd and Amy

 

Syd started writing poetry as a child, and for decades while teaching in NYC public schools, she published both poetry and prose in various journals and anthologies. She was also a charter member of the Haiku Society of America in 1968. But Syd was never able to fulfill her dream of publishing a book of haiku for children until now.

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[review + giveaway] World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

 

On this, his 80th birthday, we are honored to feature Lee Bennett Hopkins’s most recent poetry book for young readers. Everyone in the world, make way for this stellar author, poet, educator, editor, and master anthologist!

 

 

We are first introduced to this beautiful collection of ekphrastic poetry with this perceptive quote and sketch by Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci:

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

“A Bear Walking” by Leonardo da Vinci (ca. 1482-85)

 

In his Foreword, Hopkins explains that the book’s title was inspired by da Vinci’s drawing:

Though rough, the sketch reveals sharp details of the animal’s strong facial features, powerful muscles, and grasping claws — a stance as if the bear forewarns: World make way!

In World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Abrams BYR, 2018), we are treated to 18 original poems written by contemporary poets in response to 18 visual masterpieces from the Met’s vast collection. The art represents a diverse world view, spotlighting different time periods, artists, and cultures, and it is rendered in a variety of media (oil, tempera, pencil, ink, watercolor, silver, gold, acrylic) on different bases (canvas, paper, wood, silk, PVC panels). The poets (who were specially commissioned for this project), are among the finest writing for children today. In short, an exquisite book — a heartful, soul nourishing feast for the eyes and ear.

Here are the poets (*swoon*):

Alma Flor Ada
Cynthia Cotten
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Julie Fogliano
Charles Ghigna
Joan Bransfield Graham
Lee Bennett Hopkins
Irene Latham
J. Patrick Lewis
Elaine Magliaro
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Marilyn Nelson
Naomi Shihab Nye
Ann Whitford Paul
Marilyn Singer
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Carole Boston Weatherford
Janet Wong

Art begetting art — what could be more life affirming or gratifying?

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