nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hooray, Hooray! It’s official release day for Groundhug Day by Anne Marie Pace and Christopher Denise (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)!

Moose is having a Valentine’s Day party, and all his friends are so excited! Everyone except Groundhog, that is. If Groundhog sees his shadow outside, he’ll hide in his hole for six more weeks and miss the party!

Determined to help their friend join them, Moose, Squirrel, Bunny, and Porcupine put their heads together and come up with a plan. But will it be enough to get Groundhog out to play?

This heartwarming picture book by the author of Vampirina Ballerina, with adorable illustrations by Christopher Denise, is sure to be a hit, whether readers are bursting for spring or snuggling up for six more weeks of winter.

As a fan of Anne Marie’s Pigloo and Vampirina series, and many of Christopher’s books – especially his Redwall and bear books (Baking Day at Grandma’s, Me With You), I’m really looking forward to reading this one. How can anyone look at that adorable cover and not want to scoop this book up immediately?  Lovable animals, hearts, balloons, pink cake on the table . . . sigh. I am so there. Get yours now so you’ll be all set when Groundhog’s Day and Valentine’s Day roll around.

*Check out this Goodreads giveaway running now till December 12: enter for a chance to win one of two copies signed by both author and illustrator.

Happy Book Birthday, Anne Marie and Christopher!

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2. Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, a Jedi Master Chef used the Force to whip up out-of-this-world treats. No secret ingredients or light sabers necessary when wielding just the right spatula for just the right batter. Check out this set of Star Wars™ spatulas — one medium and two mini — all with durable silicone heads (heat resistant up to 600 degrees), and guaranteed not to chip or crack. Love the rounded beech wood handles, too!

If you’re a muggles-pleasing kitchen wizard, you might prefer one of these Harry Potter™ spatulas. Whether you’re Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw, you’ll be able to create pure magic for those you love (Mrs. Weasley’s fruitcake, a treacle tart, or peppermint toad, anyone?). Mix, fold, scrape, scrape.

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[scrummy review + recipe] Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story by Nadiya Hussain and Clair Rossiter

Ho, Ho, Ho, jingle jangle jingle – what better way to rustle up a little holiday spirit than with a brand new Nadiya Hussain story-cookbook!

If you’re a fan of The Great British Baking Show/Great British Bake-Off, you know Nadiya as the GBBO Series 6 winner (2015). Ever since then, Nadiya has been racing full steam ahead as an author, columnist, and television presenter, while remaining a devoted mum to her three children..

So far, she’s published two adult cookbooks, one contemporary novel, and now, two children’s story-cookbooks. You may remember when I featured Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story last Fall and baked her Very Berry Breakfast Muffins. I was excited to learn she had published a second children’s book, Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story, which was just released in early October.

Nadiya once again celebrates her love of storytelling and cooking, but this time her focus is on what matters most about the holidays: caring, giving, sharing, family, joy and fun.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

“Under the Bridge” (2017)

1. Can you guess who painted the above piece? Let me give you a few clues: he’s a legendary musician, poet, and songwriter who loves to watch “I Love Lucy” reruns, he makes a mean meatball, and he just happened to win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

“Lighthouse in Maine”

And yes, my man Bob Dylan is also an accomplished visual artist. His second graphic release from The Beaten Path collection is now available worldwide. There are 15 hand-signed limited edition prints (some are already sold out), depicting the main routes and back roads of America.

New England Depot

Choice of subject is just as interesting as his unique perspective. Of course my faves are the eateries — this time there’s a hamburger stand and a diner. 🙂

Flat Top Mt. Diner, Tennessee

Don’t you love seeing the country via his eyes and imagination? View the entire collection at the Castle Galleries webpage.

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2. Once again, author/illustrator extraordinaire Julie Paschkis has created a cool wall calendar to benefit the ACLU. The 2018 Hope Calendar celebrates the values of the United States:

By working together we can carry those values into the future, riding on a hopeful horse.

Calendars are 12″ x 18″ and are $12 each, with 100% of the proceeds donated. Get yours at Julie Paprika!

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Chatting with Author/Illustrator Melissa Iwai about Pizza Day (+ a recipe and giveaway!)

Few words elicit more mealtime cheers than:

“LET’S HAVE PIZZA!”

It doesn’t matter how old you are. Just hearing the word ‘pizza’ you’re suddenly starving for peppers, mushrooms, onions, and olives (okay, pepperoni and sausage) enmeshed in a savory tomato sauce and ooey gooey melty cheese, happily resting atop a thin and crispy or thick and chewy crust. Oh yes!

There’s just something about rolling your pizza cutter over the outer edge of crust and hearing that little ‘crack’ as you free that first hot slice. Then you blow on it just a little before taking your first bite of savory goodness, pulling a long string of mozzarella and gobbling it up quickly so you get it all in your mouth.

If you’re a pizza lover, you’ve come to the right place. Brooklyn-based author/illustrator Melissa Iwai is here to tell us all about her brand new, freshly baked picture book, Pizza Day (Henry Holt, 2017) , which officially hits shelves today. Yum!

Pizza Day is especially geared for hungry preschool munchkins, and is a tasty companion book to Melissa’s wildly popular Soup Day (Henry Holt, 2010). While his mother is away at work, an eager young boy and his father pick fresh veggies and herbs from their garden to make a pizza from scratch.

Accompanied by an adorable puppy named Caesar, they gather juicy red tomatoes, basil sprigs, carrots, onions and a green pepper, all grown from seeds they planted in the Spring.

Father and son wash the vegetables, then make the pizza dough, measuring and stirring ingredients, kneading the dough, then letting it rest and rise. Vegetables are chopped and added to the sauce, which is left to simmer on the stove while they enjoy playing together outside.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hungry for a little something? Why not feast on Samantha Lee’s food art? 🙂

This Malaysian mother of two first started playing with her food in 2008 while pregnant with her second daughter. She began posting her food art on Instagram in 2011, and soon became an internet sensation. What began as a hobby soon turned into a career. Her imaginative, whimsical creations are made with simple tools and are meant to promote healthy eating. Since 2013, she’s worked with the likes of Samsung, Barilla, Ben & Jerry’s, Holiday Inn, MasterCard, and ESPN, among many others.

Around the World series (click to enlarge)

Check out Samantha’s Official Website and Instagram for her latest plates. Yum!

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2. Though his creator Michael Bond sadly passed away in June, good old Paddington Bear marches on. He recently partnered with UNICEF to become its Champion for Children! He will be helping UNICEF’s efforts to promote the rights of children all over the world. 🙂

Lily Caprani, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF UK, said: “We are living in a time when millions of children around the world are being forced to leave their homes, and to put their trust in the kindness of strangers. As such, it seems especially appropriate and welcome to be working with a partner like Vivendi, and to have a champion like Paddington, whose own story of leaving Darkest Peru and finding a new family and home in a strange country, resonates as strongly and freshly today, as it did when it was first published. With the help of partners like Vivendi and Paddington, we will be able to make sure that millions more people hear about children’s rights, and with their support, build a world in which every child, wherever they are, knows that there will be people like Mr and Mrs Brown, to keep them happy, healthy and safe.”

Paddington exemplifies the values of love, tolerance, kindness, and persistence in the face of adversity. We agree he’s the perfect choice, definitely up to the job. The 70-something resident Paddingtons are eating extra marmalade sandwiches to celebrate. Hooray!

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