friday feast: happy birthday, jack prelutsky!

Hippo Cupcake via Dot’s Treats

In honor of Jack Prelutsky’s 72nd birthday tomorrow, I’m serving up a few sample poems from his latest collection, I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus (Greenwillow, 2012)which is brimming with 100+ chewy, crunchy, wacky, hilarious mostly animalish examples of vintage Prelutsky word-play, portmanteaux, and cheeky invites to experience a world where imagination reigns supreme.


Though I was quite taken with, “My Weasels Have the Measles,” could easily identify with the narrator of, “I Cannot Sleep a Wink Tonight,” wouldn’t mind meeting the “Wiguanas,” and am totally convinced Prelutsky used me as the model for “Especially Serious Sam,” guess which poems I like the best?

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quack up!

Blurry? Is this picture blurry? Have you ever tried to photograph a quazy duck?

Quackity quack quack!

Look who waddled into town over the weekend — yes, that’s Max the Duck, star of the New York Times Bestselling picture book series with his uber-talented creator, Jackie Urbanovic!

Jackie was on the panel at the Mid Atlantic SCBWI New Member Welcome held at the Reston Regional Library, sharing her thoughts on "The Creative Life: Navigating the Peaks and Valleys of Writing and Illustrating for Children," along with Lezlie Evans, Valerie Patterson and Regional Advisor Ellen Braaf.

Though I had interviewed Jackie a couple of times for alphabet soup, we’d never met in person. When I finally introduced myself following the panel discussion, she let out a little scream, jumped out of her seat and gave me a big hug. "I can’t believe you’re here!" she kept saying. Just ducky!!


Such a thrill — I’ve been a Jackie fan since I discovered Duck at the Door at my public library back in 2007 — and have enjoyed each and every installment in the series: Duck Soup, Duck and Cover, and Sitting Duck. Okay, guess which one is my favorite?


Anyway, I got her to sign my books, and then we quipped and quacked for a few minutes. Jackie’s positive energy is contaigious, and she’s able to convey so much joy and exuberance in her art. Zip, jump, run. Badda-bing! Quazy good (with a side of quisp).

Possibly my most favorite inscription EVER!

Her latest title, released earlier this year, is IF YOU’RE HOPPY, written by April Pulley Sayre (Greenwillow, 2011). Full of hoppy sloppy animals growling and flapping all over the place (review coming soon). Big, big dose of Happy.


I’m a lucky duck, no? ☺

♥ More Jackie posts here.

*skips away*

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

dogs dogs dogs

Holy Dog Breath!

The alphabet soup kitchen has been hijacked by dogs!

They’re everywhere, everywhere! Lapping up tequila and expensive mineral water, leaping through hoops, barking, whimpering, panting, jumping on the furniture, and licking all my stamps! Some want me to read Shiloh to them over and over again, while others are demanding doggie massages. And I’m running out of biscuits and chew bones!

All because Thursday is National Dog Day, and some of these clever critters got whiff of my plan to post pics of them with their children’s author companions. Ever since I put out the call, there’s been a steady stream of these tail wagging, tale telling, marvelous mutts ringing my doorbell.

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soup of the day: sitting duck by jackie urbanovic!


Calling all quackers!

Clickety click, clickety clack, Max the soup-cooking duck is back back back!

This week, Sitting Duck (HarperCollins, 2010), the fourth book in Jackie Urbanovic’s wildy popular New York Times bestselling picture book series, officially hits the shelves!

Everyone here at alphabet soup couldn’t be happier, cause we’re all quazy about Max, Brody, Dakota, Bebe and the whole raucous menagerie living at Irene’s. Seems like just yesterday we first heard Max knocking on Irene’s door (Duck at the Door, 2007), seeking shelter one winter’s day after the rest of his flock migrated South. Once he learned to use the remote control, discovered his flair for cooking, and made himself happily, quackily at home, he endeared himself not only to Irene and her resident dogs, cats, birds and rabbits, but to readers all over the world.


Since then, Max and the gang have kept us in stitches by concocting a masterpiece soup recipe (Duck Soup, 2008), and bravely taking in a desperate alligator (Duck and Cover, 2009). Yikes! What madness and mayhem could possibly top those escapades?

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surprise guest: quacking up with jackie urbanovic



Quello quello!


My favorite quack is back!


Jackie Urbanovic, author/illustrator of the wildly popular picture book series about Max the duck, has stopped by today to share some fabulous news. Some of you may remember my two-part interview with Jackie last year, where she gave us the scoop on her creative process, extolled her love for comic books, and revealed a surprising fondness for Gobstoppers.


Well, the first two Max books, Duck at the Door (2007) and Duck Soup (2008), both New York Times Bestsellers, have been chosen to be part of Kohl’s Cares for Kids® campaign! During May and June, both books will be available at stores across the country for the amazingly low price of just $5 each! And there’s more – both Max the duck, and Brody the St. Bernard, have gone three dimensional! They’re now available as adorable, cuddly plush animals, also at $5 each. Best part is, 100% of the net profits from the sale of these items will support health and educational opportunities for children in your own community!


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