we have two caperlicious winners!

Remember when Mr. Cornelius fell victim to caper-lollipop-induced bad behavior?

You’ll be happy to hear that after learning that hard lesson, he’s been the model of good behavior.

*cue in angelic harp music*

No cookie stealing, no boozing, no bad words, no dumping on the dumplings.

In fact, he’s been so good, he didn’t once nag beg ask to pick the winners for the The Great Lollipop Caper Giveaway.

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2012 Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck Menu and Giveaway

#1 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2012.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver (“The Summer Day,” House of Light, 1990).


So glad you’re here!

The table is set, the soup’s simmering gently on the stove, and our guest poets are arriving!

Beginning Monday, April 2nd, each of them will take turns sharing a poem or two and one of their favorite recipes. They’ll be coming from places like California, Colorado, New Jersey, Indiana, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Massachusetts, and Texas. I love a good potluck — it’s always so much fun to see what everybody brings and sample what they’ve made. There’s nothing like tasty food and good poetry to bring like-minded people together in celebration of truth, beauty and creativity. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this year’s Menu, which features a variety of verse forms and subjects pensive and playful, intimate and worldly.

*adjusts bib and licks chops*

Here are this year’s guest poets (in no particular order):

*2012 Alphabet Soup Poetry Potluck Menu*

Charles Waters
Linda Ashman
Janet Wong
April Pulley Sayre
Robyn Hood Black
Kathi Appelt
Leslie Muir
Martha Calderaro
Mary Quattlebaum
Jill Corcoran
Linda Baie
Gail Gerwin
Helen Frost
Kay Pluta
Margarita Engle
Lesa Taylor Medley
Lee Wardlaw
Doraine Bennett
Heidi Bee Roemer
Adele Kenny
Sondra Gash

Aren’t they beautiful? It’s such an honor to have them in the Alphabet Soup kitchen to help us celebrate National Poetry Month! ☺

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a great way to help teen tsunami victims in japan!

Wanted to give you the heads up about TOMO: Friendship Through Fiction — An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories (Stone Bridge Press, March 2012), that was published just last week to benefit teens in the Tohoku region on Honshu, the area hardest hit by the 2011 earthquake/tsunami disaster.

There is a wonderful interview with Holly Thompson, editor of this incredible anthology, at Debtastic Reads. You can learn  more about the project and the Japanese and international authors who contributed their stories for this wonderful charitable initiative, and enter for a chance to win a free copy by leaving a comment no later than March 16, 2012.

“Tomo” means ‘friend’ in Japanese, the perfect title for a book that was created to let teenagers in Japan know that we haven’t forgotten, and want to continue to support them as they rebuild their lives.

Click through, read the interview, enter the giveaway, purchase a copy for yourself or the teens in your life, and help spread the word through all your social networks! TOMO is available at your favorite online bookseller or directly through Stone Bridge Press.

Check out the TOMO blog for even more about all the contributors and the 36 stories in the anthology.



Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.



we have a winner!

Ruff ruff!

Not here to pick a bone with you — *grin* — but to announce the lucky winner of the No Dogs Allowed! giveaway.

Once again, to avoid any untoward infighting amongst the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers, we consulted the ever responsible, always accurate, and this time, rather clippy Mr. Random Integer Generator.

Due to the cold weather, Mr. Generator was without his spiffy bowtie and instead opted to wear a burnt sienna mohair scarf. I dare say this was the perfect accessory to set off his camel hair dog suit, which set all tongues wagging within a five mile radius.

Despite his confident demeanor, Mr. Generator proved to be a rather sensitive soul. Though ecstatic to help select the winner, he did wipe away a few tears of disappointment for the other entrants.

Now, without further ado (will you, won’t you, scooby loop-de-doo), the winner of an autographed copy of No Dogs Allowed! by the always delicious Linda Ashman and Kristin Sorra is,

*drum roll, please*

CATHY MEALEY, who blogs over at Bildebok!!

CONGRATULATIONS, CATHY! Please email me with your snail mail address: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com, so we can get your prize out to you right away.

Other Puppy Dogs, thank you for entering. We have some freshly baked treats for you. May you find a fire hydrant around every corner.

Over and out.

♥ Tsk, tsk. Did you by chance miss the review of the book and chat with author Linda Ashman? Click here.


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

melissa sweet’s balloons over broadway (a review, a little chat, and a special giveaway!)

“Every little movement has a meaning of its own.” ~ Tony Sarg

When Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet was little, her grandmother took her to New York City to see the holiday windows at Macy’s, and like millions of us, she watched the Thanksgiving parade every year on television. She could never have imagined that one day she’d be writing and illustrating a book about the man who first created the window marionettes and giant helium-filled parade balloons that have taken center stage in American holiday tradition for the last 80+ years.

If ever there was a perfect biographer for Master Puppeteer Tony Sarg, it’s Melissa Sweet. A true kindred spirit, she shares Sarg’s keen interest in toys (collecting, designing and constructing them). And like Sarg, she’s a children’s book artist who’s always enjoyed tinkering and figuring out how things work. There’s that love for full immersion in process and experimentation, fueled by a playful childlike sensibility.

In Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), Sweet describes how Sarg’s fascination with making things move began in childhood. He was a “marionette man” by the age of six, when he designed a pulley system so he could feed the chickens early each morning without leaving his bed.

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