[lickalicious review] The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle by Anne Renaud and Milan Pavlović

 

Remember eating an icy cold Popsicle® on a warm summer’s day when you were little? Your lips would freeze as you licked, slurped, and bit into it, the juice running down your chin. And then, when you were done, you proudly stuck out your tongue to show everyone how it had turned red, orange, or purple.

But for all the Popsicles® you’ve enjoyed in your lifetime, did you ever wonder who actually invented them? You may be surprised to hear it was an 11-year-old boy.

In their delightful new picture book, The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle: The Cool Science Behind Frank Epperson’s Famous Frozen Treat (Kids Can Press, 2019), author Anne Renaud and illustrator Milan Pavlović serve up all the frosty essentials in colorful, lickalicious detail.

 

 

Inquisitive, bright, and enterprising, California native Frank Epperson was born with the heart and mind of an inventor. As a boy, he “pondered important questions,” such as:

Do goldfish sleep?

Do ants have ears?

Do woodpeckers get headaches from pecking all day?

His ability to direct positive energy towards developing his ideas proved advantageous early on. Since inventing required experimentation, he was constantly doodling, designing, tinkering, testing, analyzing and scrutinizing.

By the time he was ten, “he had already masterminded his first invention: a handcar with two handles,” which ran twice as fast as one-handled cars. How he loved whizzing around the neighborhood in it!

 

 

Frank also enjoyed experimenting with liquids, especially flavored soda waters. He “had his heart set on inventing the yummiest, most thirst-quenching, lip-smacking soda water drink ever!”

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[tealicious review + recipe] Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party by Erin Barker

On a fine autumn day, what could be better than finding this lovely handwritten note in your mailbox?

You are cordially invited to a tea party in the back garden at dusk. ~ P

You probably know I’m always up for a tea party, and this one just happens to be doubly delightful. It’s being hosted by none other than the ever dapper Mr. Pumpkin, who really knows how to rock a waistcoat and top hat (I could never resist a top hat). Besides, taking tea at twilight is just too tempting. 🙂

Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party, a seasonally spooky story and counting book in one, was written and illustrated by Cincinnati-based author and illustrator Erin Barker, who first sketched a “pumpkin-head guy” having tea with a “skeleton person” for Inktober back in 2016.

They weren’t your average run-of-the-mill pumpkin and skeleton, though. They were dressed up as proper English gentlemen, and were saying things like, “I dare say,” and “Indeed.” Erin’s Instagram followers loved the sketch, and months later her editor suggested the characters should have their own book. So Erin developed a charming storyline inspired by her own love of hosting get-togethers with friends and good food.

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poetry friday roundup is here!

 

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Today, just for you — sip some tea, nibble on a macaron, and gently savor Charles Ghigna’s heartening and beautifully crafted reflections on creativity.

I am honored to share three poetic pieces from his new book, Dear Poet: Notes to a Young Writer (Resource Publications, 2019).

Described as, “A Poetic Journey into the Creative Process for Readers, Writers, Artists & Dreamers,” this collection of twenty-four spare, unadorned “word-gems” is an insightful gift to all creatives, offering both invaluable advice and spiritual nourishment.

As I enter my seventh decade on this planet, I wonder what words of wisdom I might have written to the younger me. What treasured tidbits have I learned along the way? What could I leave in a letter to young artists and poets searching the world for advice, guidance, and inspiration.

The creative process is a mysterious one, muses can be fickle, and in endeavors where one’s reach almost always exceeds one’s grasp, the life of the artist can be daunting and lonely.

I have always believed that in a sense, you cannot actually “teach” someone how to write, just as you cannot teach someone how to think or how to feel. And while there are many helpful books about honing your craft with suggestions about form, structure, voice, etc., detailing the more technical aspects of writing, sometimes what a writer needs, or craves . . . are simple, enduring truths gleaned from years of experience.

As I read the short yet profound poems, I silently cheered in affirmation. Yes, trust your instincts, speak the truth in your heart, find your authentic voice, get out of your own way and let the work speak for itself. Only write if you must.

Dear Poet is like having a trusted friend nearby, reminding you of what is most important. Though the subtitle is, “Notes to a Young Writer,” these words are for everyone, no matter where you are on your creative journey. Aren’t all artists and writers eternally young (in a constant state of beginning)?

I’m pairing today’s poems with art created by Charles’s son Chip, who also lives and works in Homewood, Alabama. As you can see, artistic talent runs deep in this family (Charles’s wife Debra is also a poet).

Good things do come in small packages. Read these delectable nuggets slowly and ponder  . . . 🙂

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“Hang Onto Your Dreams” (acrylic on canvas)

 

XII.

A silent rhyme
upon the page
is what the poet gives,

gentle words
whispered in trust
to see if memory lives.

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“Raising the Moon” (acrylic on canvas)

 

XVII.

A poem
is a rising moon
shining on the sea,

an afterglow
of all you know,
of all your dreams set free.

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“Crimson Forest” (acrylic and gold leaf on canvas)

 

XXIV.

The answer
to the artist
comes quicker than a blink,

though the spark
of inspiration
is not what you might think.

The muse
is full of magic,
though her vision may be dim.

The artist
does not choose the work.
It is the work that chooses him.

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“Bear on a Bicycle”

 

Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky below. Have fun visiting all the blogs serving up delectable poetic goodness this week!

 

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DEAR POET: Notes to a Young Writer
written by Charles Ghigna
published by Resource Publications, August 2019
Poetry Collection, 56 pp.

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“Autumn” (acrylic, gesso, book pages and leaves on canvas)

 

♥ For information about where you can purchase Chip Ghigna’s amazing art, please visit his Official Website.

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* Images posted by permission, copyright © 2019 Chip Ghigna. All rights reserved.

** Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

 

Macaroons and Madeleines from The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

Good afternoon.

Please go through and have a seat in the library. You’re just in time for tea.

Must say, you look smart in that periwinkle frock and lovely felt cloche. Always the fashion plate!

Let’s celebrate the recent release of the Downton Abbey movie by taking a peek at (and a taste of) The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook by Annie Gray (Weldon Owen, 2019).

This is by no means the first Downton Abbey cookbook to be published. The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines came out in 2012 (a new, expanded edition with color photos was just released in August 2019), and there’s Larry Edwards’s, Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey’s Elegant Meals (Arcade, 2012).

Of course we must also mention Pamela Foster’s wonderful website and blog, Downton Abbey Cooks — a fabulous archive of period recipes, musings, and food history that sustained us through all six seasons of the PBS TV series. Pamela’s eBooks are still available for download: there are two editions of Abbey Cooks Entertain, as well as a Relaxing Over Afternoon Tea cookbook.

On October 26, Christmas at Highclere: Recipes and Traditions from the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon (Preface Publishing, 2019) will hit shelves.

So, if you want to sip, eat, nibble, feast, dine, indulge, or entertain Downton style, there are many resources available to help you get your Crawley on.

 

 

That said, it’s still nice to have an “official” Downton Abbey cookbook to drool over, now that the movie is finally out. When it comes to dining like the Crawleys, and learning more about the dishes Mrs Patmore and Daisy are busy cooking downstairs, we can never have enough. It’s by far the most delicious way to wholly emerge ourselves in that once-upon-a-romantic-time-gone-by upstairs/downstairs world.

 

 

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[author chat + recipe + giveaway] Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht and Jarvis

Hooray for October — time for gorgeous autumn leaves, hot apple cider, pumpkins and squashes galore, toffee apples, hayrides, costume parties, and Halloween!

We’re so pleased Patty Toht is back to talk about her newest picture book, Pick a Pumpkin (Candlewick, 2019), which like its companion book, Pick a Pine Tree (2017), is illustrated by British artist Jarvis.

Pick a Pumpkin captures all the joy, anticipation, excitement, community spirit, and rustic beauty of the season as a family happily picks and carves pumpkins before going out to trick-or-treat.

There’s nothing like visiting the pumpkin patch on a crisp fall afternoon and finding just the right globular beauty:

 

 

Pick a pumpkin
from the patch —

tall and lean
or short and fat.

Vivid orange,
ghostly white,
or speckled green
might be just right.

 

After enjoying spicy punch and toffee apples, mom and her two kids load their pumpkin stash in their truck and head home, where dad and the baby greet them. They clean and polish their pumpkins, gather the tools they need, and invite some friends over to help them carve.

 

 

We follow them through every step, from cutting the pumpkins open, to scooping out seeds and strings, to carving out eyes, noses and mouths. So many different shapes, facial expressions, and pumpkin personalities!

Then it’s time for outdoor decorations:

Cobwebs strung from post to post,
Rings of gauzy dancing ghosts.
Spiders. Tombstones.
Dangling bats.
Skeletons and witches’ hats.

Now that the scene is set, everyone dons their costumes before proudly carrying their pumpkins outside. Then it’s that magical moment when the pumpkins are lit — turning them into spooky jack-o’-lanterns!

 

 

Its red-hot eyes
will gaze
and flicker.

Its fiery grin
will blaze and snicker,
to guard your house
while you have fun.

 

With the neighborhood aglow, mummies, ghosts, witches, skeletons and vampires take to the streets for a howling good time.

 

 

Patty’s rhythmic, exuberant text is a joy to read aloud and is packed with vivid sensory details that place the reader smack dab in the middle of all the action.

Lumpy chunks. Sticky strings,
Clumpy seeds. Guts and things.
With a spoon, scrape sides neatly.
Clean the inside out completely.

And how I love Jarvis’s pencil, chalk, paint and digitally colored illustrations! Gorgeous composition and layering resplendent with fall colors and textures. You can just about hear those leaves crunching underfoot, feel the chilly autumn wind on your cheeks, hear the happy chatter of family and friends as they carve pumpkins together.

 

 

Just as he did with Pick a Pine Tree, where he included a white cat, this time there’s a winsome black cat for keen eyes to track from spread to spread. Not sure if the cat followed the family home from the pumpkin patch, or if he belonged to them in the first place, but he’s adorable as he balances on fences, plays with the blackbirds, peers out the front window, or sticks his little paw into a bowl of pumpkin “guts.”

I can easily see Pick a Pumpkin becoming a fall classic; it positively glows with fun and goodness!

Now let’s hear from Patty! 🙂

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