[poem + giveaway] the aunts go marching one by one

Art by Elena Narkevich.
THE AUNTS
by Linda Lee (Konichek)

Mom had seven sisters. We cousins have always
called them, "The Aunts." They were at each of
our births, wonder women, who encircled us with
a golden lasso of love that kept us safe.

No matter what we needed, "The Aunts" were there;
they came to coo and fuss over new babies, bring
food and hugs to funerals, attended every milestone.

"The Aunts" made each family event a noisy, happy
party, shared jokes, gave lots and lots of advice and --
best of all -- brought special presents, wrapped in hugs.

"The Aunts" grew up washing dishes and waiting tables
in Grandma's restaurant; they were bound to help,
took over the work, even in someone else's kitchen.

"The Aunts'" potluck dishes could win awards at any
county fair; they always brought extra, always helped
serve, and left a spotless kitchen and recipes behind.

As carpenter's daughters, "The Aunts" could pound a nail,
paint a wall, build a shelf. Working right alongside the men, they
rebuilt the lake cottage, then taught us to swim and bait a hook.

"The Aunts" were always good sports, never too proud or too old to
wear the craziest home-made Halloween costumes or to dance the
fastest dance with little kids, or each other, at wedding receptions.

There was no money for "The Aunts" to go to college, so they read
great books, attended seminars, plays, symphonies, honed fine minds,
always asked, "Why?", searched for truth, lived their creeds.

"The Aunts" eagerly shared whatever we brought to them -- a wriggly
face-licking puppy, a fistful of wildflowers, a neat rock with fossils,
our best report card, new friends, fresh-picked berries, a fat toad.

Now we've become parents, aunts, uncles. Some of "The Aunts" have 
passed on, but the golden lasso remains, has expanded to encircle
all those we love. How can we ever live up to their heroic deeds?
They would always expect us to try, so we will . . . try!

~ from Celebrating the Heart-land (Jericho Productions, 2010).
Art by Elena Narkevich.

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[ribbeting review] A Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall and Vera Brosgol

Ah, soup season! 

You know, nothing hits the spot like a tasty bowl of Frog Soup. Made fresh. By a witch.

Welcome to the Bewitching Kitchen cooking show, where our pointy-hatted host will teach you how to make this easy and healthy dish at home.

We first learn that Frog Soup is the witch’s favorite treat. The model of sweetness and light, she joyfully takes us step by step through the recipe. After placing her cauldron on the fire, she adds salt, pepper, 22 (!) cloves of garlic, six potatoes and three carrots. Mustn’t forget a cup of fly extract.

Finally, the most important ingredient of all: a spoonful of frogs – to add “a kick of flavor and a pop of color.”

Well, easier said than done. She gently tries to “place the frogs on the spoon.” Seems they have other ideas – frogs, after all, like to leap, jump and hop. She tries to grab, get, find, scoop, chase, and trap them in a pot.

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[imperfect review] Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea! by Linda Ashman and Alea Marley

Ding-Dong!

Who could that be?

It’s Phoebe Dupree, and she’s coming to tea!

Abby, the young narrator of this charming picture book by Linda Ashman and Alea Marley, is excited to host the amazing Phoebe Dupree, who just happens to be absolutely perfect in every way.

Phoebe is speedy.
Phoebe is smart.

She’s equally brilliant at science and art.

This puts more than a little pressure on Abby. After all, nothing less than a picture perfect tea for a positively perfect friend will do.

She knocks herself out baking delicious treats, spiffing up her dog Louie (even briefing him on proper behavior), and then laying a beautiful table with lovely flowers and polka dot china. Everything’s all set!

Abby and Louie happily greet Phoebe, who takes her seat next to a doll and two bears. But when Abby tries to bring in the treats, she struggles with the heavy tray. It starts to slip, then bobbles and wobbles – then Abby stumbles and trips. Oh no!

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