[#MoreforAKR] celebrating amy krouse rosenthal’s birthday with COOKIE book illustrator jane dyer (+ amy’s favorite cookies and a giveaway!)

“INSPIRE means, Seeing what you’ve done here fills me with energy and new thoughts and the desire to now try to see what I can do!” ~ Amy Krouse Rosenthal (One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond)

About ten years ago, I read my first Amy Krouse Rosenthal book, her adult memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. It spoke to me because I’m an alphabet freak, and I’d never seen anyone tell her life’s story in a series of quirky alphabetized entries, a free-flowing yet carefully curated non-linear celebration of simply being alive.

I loved Amy’s penchant for cataloging ideas, recalibrating time, pruning memory. She embraced spontaneity and serendipity, indulging an irrepressible passion for making, creating and connecting. In the playground of her brilliant mind, she made the muddy, crystal clear; the cliché, passé; the ordinary, extraordinary.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal lost her battle with ovarian cancer on March 13, 2017.

After reading her memoir, I looked forward to each of her children’s picture books. Like a fairy godmother, Amy could wave her intuitive magic wand and make time-worn concepts and storylines fresh, relevant, and fun. Her joy and heart were infectious, and she had an uncanny knack for imparting advice and wisdom with a light, whimsical touch.

Goldie and Baby Bear

About twenty-five years ago, I purchased a copy of Baby Bear’s Bedtime Book, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jane Dyer. As an avid teddy bear collector, I was mad for bear books and instantly fell in love with Goldie and Baby Bear. There was such warmth in Jane Dyer’s pictures, a quaint old-fashioned charm and innocence that made me feel safe and comforted.

I’ve been a Dyer fan ever since, swooning over her work in Piggins, Time for Bed, Animal Crackers, I Love You Like Crazycakes, Blue Moon Soup, the Little Brown Bear series, and more recently, Oh My Baby, Little One, The House That’s Your Home, and All We Know. Sweet, but never cloying, gentle and endearing, her human and animal characters are always rendered with such love.

from The House That’s Your Home, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones (2015)

I want to inhabit her cozy interiors with their wainscoted walls, polka dot curtains and checked tablecloths, and befriend the adorable dogs, cats, bunnies and sheep dressed in human clothing.

GENEROUS means offering some to others (COOKIES: Bite-Size Life Lessons)

Needless to say, I was over the moon when I saw Amy and Jane’s first COOKIE book. Two of the very people I’d admired for so long in the same book!  Double the goodness, double the joy! 🙂

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nom nom, supreme cookie love ♥

“CONSIDERATE means, I waited until you got home so we could lick the bowl together.”

‘Tis the season of cookies!

Put on your aprons so we can mix up some butter, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and baking soda in our blue striped bowl. See, I waited for you to get here so we could lick the bowl together and sample some of the heartwarming cookie-centric definitions in Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s brand new book, Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love (HarperCollins, 2009)!

Just released in October, Sugar Cookies is the third installment in Rosenthal’s New York Times bestselling series, following Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons (2006) and Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons (2008).

I love all of them (I like to keep my cookie jar well stocked). In Sugar Cookies, Rosenthal defines 22 words that are associated with love — all its little nuances, and some of the different ways people show it.

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milk and cookies with amy krouse rosenthal

We’ve got a very special treat today: extremely prolific New York Times best selling children’s book author Amy Krouse Rosenthal has stopped by for a quick snack!

You probably know her from such gems as Little Pea and Little Hoot, or maybe, like me, you couldn’t resist tasting her fresh baked cookie wisdom in Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons, and Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons (which I reviewed here).

But as I mentioned in this post about her new film project, The Beckoning of Lovely (a mammoth undertaking which received enthusiastic response from around the world), Amy’s creative endeavors include not only children’s books, but a best selling adult memoir, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (which I loved!), gift books and journals, parenting books, humor columns, videos, book reviews, and a gig as a public radio talk show host.

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the beckoning of lovely

Back in September, crcook posted a truly lovely and cooler than cool 7-minute video called, "The Beckoning of Lovely." It totally caught me by surprise, chased my evil, cynical tendencies out the window, and made my heart flutter with hope.

Making things. Creativity. Coming together. Sharing. Good vibes all around.

The woman in the video arrived on the scene with her yellow umbrella, and in a few hours, changed the lives of everyone there. Strangers worked together to "make an 18th lovely thing." I admired the young woman’s ingenuity and spontaneous, free-spirited social experiment.

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Christmas Cookies by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jane Dyer

CHRISTMAS COOKIES: BITE-SIZE HOLIDAY LESSONS , by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, pictures by Jane Dyer (HarperCollins, 2008), all ages, 32 pp., On shelves now.

Season’s Greetings! (Please greet me with cookies.)

I squealed with delight when I saw Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons (HarperCollins, 2008), the scrumptious follow-up to her New York Times Bestseller, Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons (HarperCollins, 2006).

This time, we are treated to 23 more delectable cookie-centric definitions to inspire, enlighten and delight readers of all ages. Have you ever tried to explain such abstract terms as “Prosperity,” “Charitable,” or “Perseverance” to a child? Pretty tricky, huh?

That’s where these cookies come in. “Prosperity means, My goodness, just look at all those cookies!” “Charitable means setting a big batch aside to give to people who maybe don’t have any cookies at all.” And “Preseverance means, We tried and tried and tried, and finally we made the perfect not-burned batch.”

“GRACIOUS means putting out a plate for our special guest.”

With cookies, everything becomes clear. Especially when the definitions feature charming, curly haired, multiethnic kids and their gentle animal friends working together in the kitchen.

”FRUSTRATED means, I can’t believe we burned them again!”

If ever there was a perfect pairing of author and illustrator, these cookie books are it. Jane Dyer’s winsome watercolors perfectly capture the candy-striped, multicolor-frosted, sugar-sprinkled celebration that is Christmas without being cloying or overly cute. Kids will love how humans and animals, equally enthusiastic about cookies, inhabit the same world. Since these crunchy chunks of wisdom can be nibbled on one tasty morsel at a time, or gobbled up in one fell swoop, it is suitable for picky eaters as well as established gastronomes. No holding back here. Open the book to any page, cozy up to the table, and help yourself to pure yummy-ness.

“SHARING means, Thanks for giving me a taste. Would you like a bite of mine?”

I am a huge fan of both Rosenthal’s and Dyer’s work, and highly recommend both of these Cookie books. Created from what seems like the perfect recipe, these gems satisfy to the very last crumb.

To browse inside Christmas Cookies, click here.

For the Christmas Cookie recipe included in the book, click here.

If, by some chance, you were visiting another planet and missed the first Cookie book, take a peek inside it here.

pictures by Jane Dyer (HarperCollins, 2006), all ages, 32 pp.


Special thanks to R. Michelson Galleries for permission to post interior spreads from Christmas Cookies. All images included here are available for sale (watercolor on paper, 8.5″ x 8.5″). Click here for more information on these and other illustrations from Jane Dyer’s books.

*All interior images copyright © 2008 Jane Dyer, published by HarperCollins. All rights reserved.