[#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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a pair of fun foodie gift books

Actually, you don’t have to be a card-carrying foodie to love these two new Fall 2013 books.

Both encourage us to play with our food and appreciate food as art. Nothing I like more than a fanciful feast. 🙂

idacover

EAT YOUR ART OUT: Playful Breakfasts by IdaFrosk (Kontur Publishing, 2013). Norwegian food artist/enthusiast Ida Skivenes has been posting her creative breakfasts on Instagram every day since the summer of 2012.

She believes food should be healthy, tasty and fun. Most of the breakfast plates featured in her book take between 5-15 minutes to prepare, require simple equipment and available ingredients, and all are meant to be eaten. What started on a whim one morning has turned into a great food adventure (100,000+ followers, international media coverage, columns in newspapers and magazines, special projects).

I love that her first ever creations were a bear and a fox. She also includes a few tips and recipes for pancakes, hot cereal, granola, scones, and nut butter. Check out her blog for behind-the-scenes pics and background on her Instagram features. Fun for all ages!

feedthepanda
Feed the Panda (and yourself) All images © 2013 Ida Skivenes
crazylikeabritishsconefox
Crazy Like a British Scone Fox
red
Little Red Strawberry Riding in the Hood
munch
Edvard Munch: “Scream” (Art Toast Project)

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bigappetitescover

BIG APPETITES: Tiny People in a World of Big Food by Christopher Boffoli (Workman Publishing, 2013). This is a collection of Boffoli’s internationally-known series of photographs featuring tiny people posing in real food environments. Amusing, outlandish, snarky, and handily skewing our sense of perspective, Boffoli’s photos tease the imagination, whet the appetite for worlds beyond our own, and enable us to see common food items as never before — for their beauty, intense color, and wonderful textures. Readers of all ages will be drawn to these fascinating scenes, but the tongue-in-cheek captions will likely go over the heads of most kids. Have you ever dreamed of playing golf on a split papaya, mowing an orange peel,  bathing in blue Jell-O? Feast your eyes!

strawberry
“With market prices skyrocketing, strawberry seeds were disappearing into the hands of poachers” (© 2013 C. Boffoli)
bananas
“A chance taken on a new path led them to swear off pineapple riding forever”
cucumbers
“Everyone just wanted to relax. But after Deborah got a few beers in her, she just wouldn’t stop talking”
bears
“An elite squad was not always successful against superior numbers”

bacast

♥ Find out more about Seattle-based photographer Christopher Boffoli at his official website (and check out that giant pumpkin pie).

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Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

hooray for ickle and Lardee: the second my milk toof book is out!

Ever wonder what happened to those tiny baby teeth you put under your pillow when you were little?

Could be they’re canoodling with the tooth fairy and reading flossy magazines right this minute. The more ambitious ones are probably making toothpaste commercials. Or maybe, just maybe, a couple of them are planning to come knocking on your door.

When this happened to Berkeley artist Inhae Lee back in 2009, she happily invited her two milk teeth in and began creating photo comics about their adventures on the My Milk Toof blog.

In no time at all, ickle (the curious bookish one) and Lardee (the fun-loving hungry one) attracted legions of loyal fans who can’t get enough of their mischievous antics and irresistible, quirky charm.

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(you will love) my milk toof: the adventures of ickle and Lardee

So last week this adorable book magically appeared in my mailbox.

A surprise from my good friend Sylvia, who knows my love for whimsical, quirky things. I usually don’t go out of my way to read about teeth, even though I like my James Taylor-loving, tells-funny-stories dentist who wears crisp plaid shirts and likes to sing while he drills. And I really hadn’t given much thought to the whereabouts of all those baby teeth I handed over to the Tooth Fairy once upon a time.

 

But now, Inhae Lee’s new book has me wondering. Never in a million years would I have ever considered the possibility that “teeth” could be cute. I know what you’re thinking: there’s cute, and then there’s too cute.  It’s a slippery slope. Not unlike eating something too cold and getting brain freeze, or having your teeth hurt from biting into something too sweet. But Ms. Lee gets it just right.

 

Maybe you already know ickle and Lardee from the Milk Toof blog, where this very talented Berkeley-based artist has been chronicling tiny teef adventures since 2009:

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