three poems from My Daddy Rules the World by Hope Anita Smith

Happy Poetry Friday and Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate all the cool dads in the world than with Hope Anita Smith’s brand new poetry picture book, My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Dads (Henry Holt, 2017).

Through fifteen heartwarming poems told in a child’s voice, Smith captures the singular bond between father and child as evidenced in everyday activities such as eating, dancing, playing music, and reading. Smith focuses on those small, intimate moments and interactions that mean so much to children, and every one of these gems brims with pride, adoration and pure love.

MY DADDY

My daddy is a porcupine
with whiskers that are prickly.

My daddy is an octopus
who finds where I am tickly

My daddy is a tall giraffe
who lifts me to the sky.

My daddy is a sea eagle
who teaches me to fly.

My daddy is a wise old owl
who stays up late at night.

My daddy is a big brown bear
with arms that hug me tight.

The poems are paired with Smith’s beautiful torn paper collages that feature fathers, sons and daughters in a variety of skin tones without facial features. I love how Hope is able to convey so much warmth and emotion through body language: an affectionate tilt of the head, a concerned hand lifting a chin, the reassurance of Dad holding the bike seat, being encircled in Dad’s arms as he reads aloud or teaches guitar.

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[review] All Aboard the London Bus by Patricia Toht and Sam Usher

Hurry, the bus is here! You don’t want to miss a single minute of the tour!

One of the things I loved best about living in London was public transport. Never had to worry about driving on the left side of the road, navigating those tricky roundabouts (how our British friends teased us Americans for calling them “traffic circles”!), or wasting precious time looking for a parking spot.

I was constantly amazed at how easy it was to get around a city of that size. I could take the London Underground (affectionately known as “the tube”), catch a friendly black cab, or pop onto an iconic red double-decker bus, and in no time, I’d be happily browsing the bookstores in Charing Cross Road, spending money I didn’t have at Harrod’s, or visiting the teddy bears at Hamley’s. No matter where I was headed, it was always such fun seeing London from the top deck of the bus.

You can see why I was excited when All Aboard the London Bus (Frances Lincoln, 2017) appeared in my mailbox. How could I not love a poetry picture book introducing kids to the coolest sights in my favorite city?

Written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Sam Usher, it contains 24 lively, fun-to-read, mostly rhyming poems showcasing London’s most popular tourist attractions. We follow a family of four as they board a double-decker bus and make stops at Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly Circus, the British Museum, and more.

The warm, enthusiastic opener gets us revved up for a jolly good time. 🙂

click to enlarge

Come!
Board the double-decker bus
and see the London sights with us.
At any time, hop off.

Explore!

Then climb back on and ride some more.
For better views, climb up the stairs —
the city views are great from there.
Here’s your map and city guide.
Settle back. Enjoy the ride.
Buenos días!
Bonjour!
Hello!
Guten Tag!
Ni hao!

Let’s go!

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9 cool things on a tuesday

1. Been enamored of Phoebe Wahl’s art ever since reading her debut picture book Sonya’s Chickens (2015). Love the timeless, old-fashioned, folk art feel of her watercolor, collage and colored pencil illustrations. There’s a good reason she won the 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Award for New Illustrators. 🙂

Besides her picture book illustrations, I like her 2017 Slow Food Calendar. The four color letterpress prints are gorgeous and distinctive. Can’t get enough of the intimate scenes of people working together in the kitchen or enjoying the outdoors. Though the 2017 calendar is sold out, Phoebe will be making one for 2018 — can’t wait!

She’s also done some wonderful pieces for Taproot Magazine and the Taproot Calendar.

Can’t beat that delightful handmade look. And don’t you love seeing men working in the kitchen? 🙂

See more of Phoebe’s work at her official website, that contains a link to her online shop which features prints, cards, t-shirts and accessories. She just started taking pre-orders for these new Fruit and Flower enamel mugs yesterday (love!).

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2. Have you been to the Post Office lately? Love these new Delicioso Forever Stamps, just released on April 20. These spicy beauties were designed by none other than children’s book author/illustrator John Parra!

You may remember we featured John as a hotTEA of Children’s Literature not too long ago. Pretty cool to think of him whenever I send a piece of snail mail out into the world.

John at the dedication ceremony ( National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico)

He’s got a new book coming out on September 5: Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown (NorthSouth Books, 2017). While we’re waiting for that, we can enjoy a little Delicioso every day. Congrats to John!

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3. It’s been awhile since we’ve checked on Christopher Boffoli, the ingenious Big Appetites photographer known for his scenes featuring tiny people posed in captivating food environments.

I always wish I could shrink myself and enter his world of giant macarons, cupcakes, and pies. Check out his website for prints and notecard sets.

Macaron Notecard Set

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4. Speaking of checking up on people, I recently visited Handmade by Mia’s Etsy Shop and she’s having a Spring Sale on some of her wool felted items (up to 40% off).

Look for her trademark big-eyed birdies as well as elephants, flowers and foxes. If you’re a Moomin fan, you’ll like her Moomin pouches, buntings and key fobs. 🙂

Mia was one of the first people I interviewed for my Indie Artist Spotlight series. She’s one of the nicest Etsy sellers I’ve encountered — great, personalized service and I like how she recycles vintage materials (100% Finnish wool) for her bags and pouches.

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5. Remember last time when I mentioned ashley wolff’s cool Resistance to the Regime of 45 prints? Lucky for us, she’s also offering her complete collection of resistance posters as free downloadable high resolution PDFs at her blog! She’s encouraging everyone to download, share, and enjoy. Thank you, ashley!!

Love them!

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6. New Book Alert! Excited to hear that Aussie Poetry Friday friend Kathryn Apel just published her third verse novel for younger readers, Too Many Friends (University of Queensland Press, 2017)!!

Tahnee wants everyone in her Year 2 class to get along and be happy. But what happens when all of Tahnee’s friends want her attention at the same time? And how can Tahnee be friends with Lucy, when Lucy doesn’t seem to want any friends?

A novel about friendship and school life, and the balance we all need to find to be the best friend we can be.

Sounds delightful. 🙂 I do enjoy reading Kathryn’s posts at Kat’s Whiskers — they’re cheery, upbeat, and fun, and display her fondness for wordplay and flexing her poetry muscles. Too Many Friends follows her two other verse novels, Bully on the Bus (2014) and On Track (2015). Order any or all three via the publisher. Congratulations, Kat!

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7. Part of being a diehard Bob Dylan fan is not only keeping up with his musical projects, but with his painting career as well. He’s had several solo exhibitions in England over the years, the most recent of which was “The Beaten Path” at the Halcyon Gallery in London.

This collection features scenes from the American landscape; we get to see parts of the country through Dylan’s eyes — what does he notice, what does he consider worthy of interpretation? It did not escape me that he chose to paint a Donut Shop (even more reason to love him). 🙂

Vanity Fair recently featured an explanation in his own words about what he hoped to accomplish with this project:

For this series of paintings, the idea was to create pictures that would not be misinterpreted or misunderstood by me or anybody else. When the Halcyon Gallery brought the idea of me doing American landscapes for an exhibition, all they had to do was say it once. And after a bit of clarification, I took it to heart and ran with it. The common theme of these works having something to do with the American landscape—how you see it while crisscrossing the land and seeing it for what it’s worth. Staying out of the mainstream and traveling the back roads, free-born style. I believe that the key to the future is in the remnants of the past. That you have to master the idioms of your own time before you can have any identity in the present tense. Your past begins the day you were born and to disregard it is cheating yourself of who you really are.

The entire article is worth a read, as it provides a nice insight into his creative process.

It’s interesting to learn about people who became famous for one particular art form, but who also excel in others (E.E. Cummings, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Red Skelton, and Tony Bennett were/are also painters). With multi-talented individuals, I imagine there’s a lot of valuable cross-fertilization of inspiration and ideas.

Signed limited edition giclée prints from “The Beaten Path” are available online via Castle Galleries.

Enjoy this short EuroNews video:

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8. You’ve no doubt seen Molly Hatch’s work while you’ve been out and about, here, there or everywhere, maybe sometimes not realizing who the artist was behind that cool mug, kitchen accessory or tote bag.

I first noticed Molly’s ceramic pieces at Anthropologie. While I’m partial to her tableware, I’m just as happy to enjoy her wonderful, quirky drawings on stationery and notecards.

There’s something about her work that’s old fashioned but fresh and contemporary at the same time. In addition to highly collectible merchandise, she’s done some cool museum installations. How much do I love that she creates wall paintings with ceramic plates? I appreciate the intersection of functional and fine art and will devote more time to researching Molly’s many creative avenues.

Covet Project, 2012 (inspired by historic imagery found in the collections at the MFA Boston and the Met in NYC)
An 11-piece painting consisting of hand-thrown and hand-painted ceramic plates inspired by the historic textile collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
“Deconstructed Lace” (2015), inspired by historic patterns of Royal Copenhagen Porcelain.

Read this short article about how Molly started working with Anthropologie. Visit Molly’s online shop to purchase kitchen goods, stationery, etc.

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9. Finally, I’ve been following the very cool Heads Together Campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to help end the stigma around mental health.

In this video, they discuss the importance of initiating conversation as a first step in healing. Prince William and Prince Harry speak candidly about trying to cope with the death of their mother Princess Diana. I also appreciated Prince Harry’s mention of how social media can distort one’s perception of well being. Heads Together is doing good work!

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Alright chickies, I wish you a Happy Tuesday and a Good Week.

Be Kind.

Eat Good Food.

Smile.

Resist.

Persist.


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

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[review + giveaway] Keep a Pocket in Your Poem by J. Patrick Lewis and Johanna Wright

Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.

~ Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (“Keep a Poem in Your Pocket”)

So begins J. Patrick Lewis’s brand new poetry picture book, in which he pairs 13 classic poems on a variety of subjects with his own inventive parodies. Beatrice Schenk de Regnier’s opening poem sets the tone by touting the delights of the imagination, while Lewis’s poetic response (“Keep a Pocket in Your Poem”) advises us to think up wondrous, concrete objects (“red hawk feather,/silver penny, pinkie ring”) to spark the creative process.

In his introduction, Lewis explains that writing a parody is the best way to pay tribute to someone else’s work. He’s clearly a poet who likes to tweak, twist and tinker — not only with words, but with ideas, thoughts, and emotions.

As old poem faces off against new, it’s interesting to see the different directions Lewis has taken as he echoes, mimics, and counters. With this side by side format, young readers are given great examples of how one might imitate a well-known poem, whether they choose to express a similar sentiment (Lewis’s “Winter Warmth” in response to Langston Hughes’s “Winter Sweetness”), or contrast the original (Lewis’s “Rats” vs. Rose Flyeman’s “Mice,” or Lewis’s “Hail” vs Carl Sandburg’s “Fog”).

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[review+ recipe + giveaway] Fresh-Picked Poetry by Michelle Schaub and Amy Huntington

In just about a month, the farmers’ markets in our area will open for the season. Hooray! 🙂

Can’t wait to wrap my lips around a juicy ripe strawberry, fix myself a crisp garden salad with baby lettuces, cucumber, radishes, green peppers, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, and dribble some local golden honey on a warm biscuit. I can just about smell the sweet, rejuvenating scent of ripe peaches and the aroma of freshly baked breads, cookies and muffins, and I can picture the colorful bouquets of Spring blooms.

Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market by Michelle Schaub and Amy Huntington, is just what we need to get us in the mood for the delicious bounty that awaits us. Michelle and Amy capture all the tantalizing sights, smells, sounds, and flavors of a bustling farmers’ market with 18 sprightly, sensory-rich poems and delightful, animated pictures packed with charming details.

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