nine cool things on a tuesday

coolteacard1. Love finding cute notecards, and when they have TEA written on them I can’t resist! Louise Neumann of LouPaper calls herself a professional doodler. It certainly looks like she’s having a lot of fun celebrating “things that make life lovely” (food, travel, gardens, and cocktails) with her bright cheery designs.

coolpastariesnotebookHer Etsy Shop contains a nice selection of notecards, notebooks, prints and calendars. She has a cool series that features various states and the things commonly associated with them. She hasn’t done Hawai’i yet, but the Virginia one includes Williamsburg, Jamestown, peanuts, and the red cardinal.

coolvirginiacoolgardennotebookNaturally I’m partial to her food designs, which includes donuts, shellfish, beer, sushi, cheese and bread. And all done with marker pens! Check it out. 🙂

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2. New Book Alert: Hooray, Barbara Crooker has just published another poetry collection! Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017) was just released a couple of weeks ago:

coolbarbarabookLES FAUVES is, as the title suggests, a collection of ekphrastic poetry, meditations on paintings from the Fauve and Post-Impressionist movements. But it also contains poetry’s equivalent to Fauvism, poems that take a walk on the wild side. There are language experiment poems, poems of word play, poems in form both usual (end rhymes, sonnets, ghazals) and unusual (abecedaries, traditional, embedded, and double helix), palindromes, anagrams, and word scrambles. Crazy word salad poems. Crooker’s subjects range widely, from living and working in a small village in the South of France, love in a long-term relationship, food as more than sustenance, faith in a secular age, grammar and usage, the pains and pleasures of the aging body. But always, what engages her most is what it means to be human on this fragile planet, at this time in our troubled history, still believing that “Beauty will save the world” (Fyodor Dostoevsky).

I just got my copy and can’t wait to dig in!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

cooldimsumposterbig1. Few things make me happier than the thought of Dim Sum, so this delectable giclée print by Ellen Blonder pretty much gets me where I live. The watercolor paintings are from Ellen’s wonderful book, Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch (Clarkson Potter, 2002). Love the precise detail and quiet beauty of her work.

cooldimsumcoverAlso available is this print featuring art from Ellen’s award winning cookbook Every Grain of Rice: A Taste of Our Chinese Childhood in America (1998), which she co-wrote with Annabel Low. Both prints are signed, available in several sizes and are printed with archival-quality ink on acid-free paper. Gorgeous!

cooleerygrainbiggraincoverBe sure to visit Ellen’s website to see more of her exquisite paintings and her impressive list of awards, commercial clients and projects. Prints are available at her Etsy Shop.

*ETA: Ellen is on a short break, and will re-open her shop March 15.

Since 2017 is the year of the Rooster, here’s one of Ellen’s rooster paintings (she lives on Kaua’i where roosters run free).

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2. These chilly winter days are perfect for indoor craft projects. Check out Margaret Bloom’s latest book, Making Peg Dolls & More: Toys That Spin, Fly, and Bring Sweet Dreams (Hawthorn Press, 2014):

mollycover2This inspiring new collection by Margaret Bloom builds on the success of her first book Making Peg Dolls. With peg dolls at the heart of each design, you’ll discover how easy it is to create toys which fly and spin, pin cushions, herbal pocket friends, wall-hangings, and much more. All projects are richly illustrated throughout with hand-drawn diagrams and full color photos.

The easy-to-follow instructions will guide you through a selection of simple and more advanced designs. Many of the projects are suitable for young children and will only take an hour or two to complete. Interwoven with poems, songs and stories, the projects can engage the whole family in the art of crafting and playing with these magical toys!

margaret-bloom-making-peg-dolls-favourite-page-vegetablesmolly3mollyonemolly4These dolls, which come from the Waldorf handcraft tradition,  are so sweet and will inspire hours of imaginative play and storytelling. Don’t you want to enter this tiny world of enchantment?

Here’s the cover of Margaret’s first book, Making Peg Dolls (Hawthorn Press, 2013):

mollycoverOh, and my foodie self was especially happy to see tutorials for making a peg doll dining table and tiny cakes (!) at Margaret’s blog, We Bloom Herewhere she regularly features fun projects for the whole family to enjoy. 🙂

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2017 ALA Youth Media Awards Winners!

This morning the American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2017 Youth Media Awards Winners at their annual Midwinter Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. These awards recognize excellence in children’s and young adult books, audio books and videos released during the 2016 calendar year.

The John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature went to:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Young Readers/Workman, 2016).

Three Newbery Honor Books were also named:

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life, written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016)

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, written by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly (Dutton Children’s Books, 2016)

Wolf Hollow, written by Lauren Wolk (Dutton Children’s Books, 2016).

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The Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children went to:

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe (Little, Brown, 2016).

Four Caldecott Honor Books were also named:

Leave Me Alone! illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol (Roaring Brook Press, 2016)

Freedom in Congo Square, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford (Little Bee Books, 2016)

Du Iz Tak? illustrated and written by Carson Ellis (Candlewick Press, 2016)

They All Saw a Cat, illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel (Chronicle Books, 2016).

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The Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults went to:

March: Book Three, created by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf Productions, 2016).

***March: Book Three also won the Robert F. Sibert Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award.

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*For a complete list of all the ALA Youth Media Award Winners and Honor Books, including the Pura Belpré Awards, Coretta Scott King Awards, and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Awards, click here.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS AND A BIG THANK YOU TO THE AWARD COMMITTEES FOR YOUR HARD WORK!


Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

your table’s ready

by Rudi Hurzlmeier

Hello and Happy New Year!

We’re baaaaaaack! Hope you had a nice holiday. Other than a little adventure with our well pump on New Year’s Eve, we managed to survive all the busyness, insane consumption of cookies and undue pressure to be merry and jingly and ho ho ho all the time, and now we’re just happy to get back to our quiet routine here in the woods with bears, books, and warm cups of tea.

Like that wonderful bear in Mr. Hurzlmeier’s painting, I’m tipping my hat to you. I’m glad you’re here because we’ve saved a special seat for you at the table. If you please, says Mr. Bear, make yourself at home.

I hope you don’t mind, but we had to make today’s tea with bottled water. That’s because our tap water still smells like bleach. When the new pump was installed, the contractor sanitized our well. We were lucky to find someone on a holiday weekend who provides emergency service. One minute you’re washing and rinsing the dishes, the next minute you turn on the bathroom tap to brush your teeth and no water at all. 😦

It’s good to know you can actually call someone close to midnight and they’re actually cordial and patient and try to troubleshoot with you over the phone before agreeing to come over bright and early the next morning. So we welcomed 2017 without clean water and there was no dumpling soup or any other cooking going on but we were just relieved we didn’t have to check into a hotel and wait days and days to get someone to fix things.

Did I mention one reason the well pump failed was because we had a power outage on Christmas Eve? Chain of events, chain of events. Never a dull moment.

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crispy chewy crumbly: a baker’s dozen of cookie picture books

Read me, eat me, love me.

Today we’re all about cookies with our yummy baker’s dozen of favorite cookie picture books. Mmmm! Can you smell the rich buttery goodness of these lovingly baked stories? These chewy charmers are flavored with a good measure of humor, mystery, suspense, excitement, wisdom, and whimsy for a satisfying read any time.

Whether it involves gingerbread boys, kangaroos, monkeys, cats, cows, ducklings or detectives, we see how this favorite childhood treat can be smart and tough, with crumble-proof narratives to hit the spot. So grab a cold glass of milk, settle in your favorite chair, and reach right into the cookie jar. Happy story-nibbling!

from Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar? © 2013 Julie Paschkis

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