What’s the best way to honor two beloved British icons with 90th birthdays this year?
Feature them both in a beary good story, of course.
Mr Cornelius is convinced 2016 is extra special and that 90 is a magic number. On January 13, much to the delight of the 50-something resident Paddingtons, Michael Bond turned 90. On April 21, HRH Queen Elizabeth turned 90 (with her official birthday celebration taking place just over a week ago), and this coming October marks the 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh’s first book.
Goodness. This is like a golden trifecta for us anglophiles who are mad for Brits, books and bears! Just so happens that Her Majesty loved the Pooh books when she was little, and the year she was born, Mr. Milne dedicated his Teddy Bear and Other Songs (1926) to her.
Earlier this year, Mr Bond was asked to write an address for the National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s 90th Birthday. His “Reflection on the Passing of Years” was read aloud at the service by Sir David Attenborough (and yes, he turned 90, too, on May 8). This piece, a special gift for the Queen, described the experience of life for those born in 1926. Is there any better gift than the gift of words?
So we could say that in effect Paddington has “met” the Queen, but until this new story Pooh had not.
I’ll always remember the day I found Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in the public library.
“Read me,” demanded a well worn copy left behind on one of the round wooden tables in the children’s room. I picked it up, read it all the way through, then sat down in a tiny chair to read it again.
I became a Viorst fan that day as I eagerly made my way through the other Alexander books. I found myself coveting train pajamas and contemplating a move to Australia. Totally nailing the child voice, Viorst (who made me very glad I didn’t have gum stuck in my hair) had a way of telling it true and assuaging frustration and calamity with just the right dose of humor. Months later, when the family across the street lost their cat, I gave them a copy of The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. Judith to the rescue again.
Her latest poetry collection, What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? (Atheneum, 2016) is subtitled, “Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem.” Feeling a little lonely in your own skin? Or silly enough to eat a lamp for lunch? Maybe you’re fiercely jealous of too sweet, too kind, nauseatingly polite Anna May — why not bite or bop her? What do you do when your best friend doesn’t want to be your best friend any more, or your mom is just too bossy, or your head is spinning from all those reading and writing rules?
☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: I cannot live without my loose-leaf German tea, Nizze Sahne Tee! Nizze = Nice as in France and Sahne means cream. It’s an aromatic black tea flavored with cornflowers and safflowers, so there are hints of blue and orange. I first discovered it on a trip to Berlin in 2000. Now I order it by the kilo. And this is my favorite tea mug, purchased at Woolworth’s in Berlin, Germany, a remembrance of our time living there
2004-2005 for my husband Niko’s sabbatical.
☕ FORTHCOMING IN 2017 AND BEYOND: Roaring Brook Press will also publish Hello Goodbye Dog, illustrated by Patrice Barton (2017); Highway Hawks, illustrated by Brian Floca (2018), and they recently acquired a second book with Bagram Ibatoulline, A Home for Bobcat. I also have a concept book called Terrific Tongues forthcoming from Boyds Mills Press as well as a haiku story about Great Horned Owls, Whooo-Ku, which will be published by GP Putnam’s Sons.
☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Some recent foodie picture books that I loved are Pat Zietlow Miller’s Sharing the Breadas well as Mara Rockliff’s Gingerbread for Liberty. Some middle grade titles include Sarah Weeks’ Pie —you will become obsessed with pie-making after you read it; A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff, and Kat Yeh’s The Truth About Twinkie Pie —full of heart, though the twinkie pies themselves are not my cup of tea😉. And though I haven’t yet gotten to them, I’ve heard wonderful things about Tara Dairman’s Gladys Gatsby books: All Four Stars, The Stars of Summer, and Stars So Sweet.
☕☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Cool spreads from the forthcoming Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails!
📕 SPECIALBOOK GIVEAWAY! 📙
Maria has generously offered a brand new signed copy of Penny and Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars for one lucky Alphabet Soup reader!
In this picture-book companion to Penny & Jelly: The School Show, Penny is invited to a slumber-under-the-stars sleepover! But there’s one small detail that derails the dynamic kid-dog duo: no pets allowed. Penny and Jelly have to think quick—if the real Jelly can’t go, then maybe a pretend Jelly can! A paper Jelly? Too rough. A yarn Jelly? Too soft. Jelly after Jelly just doesn’t work. But with a little creativity and a lot of heart, Penny figures out how to go to the sleepover—and bring Jelly along with her.
For a chance to win, simply leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EDT) June 9, 2016. You may also enter by sending an email with Penny and Jelly-2 in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot)com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!
And there’s more! Check out these dates for the Official Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars Blog Tour, beginning next Thursday, with more chances to win a book!
Let’s talk doughnuts. Which do you fancy– cake or raised? Powdered, cinnamon sugar, glazed, chocolate dipped, or frosted?
Though in the past I’ve dallied with lemon-filled, jelly, maple glazed, vanilla iced with sprinkles, and even (gasp!) gotten a bit risqué with a warm cruller or two, my true loyalty lies with the plain glazed ring doughnut, the fresher and softer the better. I live for that moment when you take that first luscious bite and the glaze cracks a bit, sometimes sticking to the edges of your mouth. Mmmmmm!
Now, tell me. For all the times you’ve eaten a ring-shaped doughnut, have you ever wondered who invented the hole? Thanks to The Hole Story of the Doughnutby Pat Miller and Vincent X. Kirsch, we surprisingly learn that a teenager with a knack for creative problem solving was actually responsible, and that his “aha” moment took place on the high seas!