nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy February! We’re celebrating the month of love with some of Lee White’s Valentine’s Day prints and cards.

You may be familiar with Lee’s work as a children’s book illustrator (Kate, Who Tamed the Wind; The Maine Coon’s Haiku, I Lived on Butterfly Hill). He’s also done commercial projects for clients such as Disney, Verizon, National Geographic and Marks & Spencer, and teaches painting via The Society of Visual Storytelling, an online art school for artists of all skill levels.

Lee works mainly in watercolor, but likes to include other media such as ink, colored pencil and collage.

To see more of his work or to purchase prints and cards, visit Lee’s Official Website and Etsy Shop. 


Continue reading

[review + giveaway] On a Gold-Blooming Day by Buffy Silverman

Hello, Autumn!

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our favorite season than by taking a peek at Buffy Silverman’s brand new picture book, On a Gold-Blooming Day: Finding Fall Treasures (Millbrook Press, 2022).

Just released September 6, it’s the perfect companion to On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring (2020).  With spare rhyming verse and gorgeous full-color photos, Buffy showcases some of the fascinating and wondrous ways plants and animals prepare for this season of change.

On a gold-blooming,
sun-dazzling day . . . 

Snakes glide.
Spiders hide.
Crickets chirp.
Butterflies slurp.
Fluff lifts.
Seed drifts.

Her pitch perfect, lyrical text is a sheer joy to read aloud with its inventive hyphenated adjectives and rhyming couplets, where choice verbs power a fun, easy rhythm. Who can resist “gold-blooming,” “bee-zooming,” and “sun-dazzling”? Or “rattle-skedaddle,” “scoop-swoop”? From the very beginning, Buffy’s ebullient words pull us right in.

Continue reading

[spicy review] We Love Pizza by Elenia Beretta

Put on your bib, it’s pizza time!

Did you know there’s a brand new picture book celebrating our favorite cheesy, crusty, spicy, tomato-luscious food? Bet you’d love to wrap your lips around a warm, ooey gooey slice right this minute. 🙂

Elenia Beretta’s We Love Pizza: Everything you want to know about your number one food (Little Gestalten, 2021) opens with this savory poem:


The world is full of people,
And people have to eat,
And if they had to choose a dish,
There’s one that’s hard to beat.

You make it and you bake it,
Or you buy it in a shop.
It can be soft or crunchy,
And have lots of things on top.

It’s simple but delicious --
That’s how it’s earned its fame.
Have you now guessed what it is?
Yes, PIZZA is its name!

This delectable introduction to the dish for pizza lovers of all ages is packed with fascinating tidbits sure to surprise and delight.

Where did pizza originate and how did it come to America? What are the different sizes and shapes of pizza? What exactly is a pizzeria and who are some of the people associated with it? How do you make your own pizza, and best of all, what kinds of toppings do people all over the world prefer?

Continue reading

[tasty review + giveaway] Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites by Jamie Michalak, Debbi Michiko Florence and Yuko Jones

Even before I took my first bite of this delectable new picture book, I was in love. Just look at that cover! Yuko Jones’s appealing depiction of young Niki had me grinning and giddy with anticipation. I immediately wanted to know more about her. So much joy, spunk, and pride in that adorable face — I could just eat her up!

I was not familiar with Chef Niki before reading Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites by Jamie Michalak and Debbi Michiko Florence (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021). A pioneer of modern Japanese kaiseki cuisine, she founded the upscale Michelin two star restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles. In the decade since its opening in 2011, n/naka has risen to national prominence as the most celebrated kaiseki restaurant outside Japan.

Master Kaiseki Chef Niki Nakayama

This beautifully written, inspiring book shows how Nakayama defied expectations throughout her life, never giving up on her dream to chart her own destiny in a profession still dominated by men.


What is kaiseki? Considered the pinnacle of Japanese haute cuisine, it’s a traditional culinary art form consisting of an exquisitely presented multicourse meal prepared with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Courses follow a specific sequence balancing the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food, thereby creating a singular story embodying the chef’s essence.


What makes the cuisine at n/naka unique is how Chef Niki has integrated her Japanese and American heritage and upbringing in Southern California within the template of traditional kaiseki. Just as her meals consist of 13 courses, Jamie and Debbi chose to tell her story in 13 scrumptious bites.

Continue reading

Whoo-ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story by Maria Gianferrari and Jonathan Voss


Once in a great while, we’ll hear a “hoo-hoo-HOOOOO-hoo” coming from our woods in the middle of the night. OWL!

We’re always delighted by this rare sound, since the hooting is our only indication that there really are owls out there. Unlike all the other birds we commonly see (robins, woodpeckers, nuthatches, crows, bluebirds, chickadees, cardinals, wrens), our owly friends, by virtue of being nocturnal and mysterious, like to keep us guessing.

Since it’s pitch black outside (no streetlights), I’ve never actually seen any of the great horned owls that we like to assume are calling to us. They seem to enjoy being elusive, thereby heightening their allure.

Reading Whoo-ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story, a new poetry picture book by Maria Gianferrari and Jonathan Voss (Putnam, 2020), gave me the perfect opportunity to learn more about these magnificent creatures.

I love the idea of a story told entirely in haiku, and Gianferrari brilliantly manages the challenging feat of creating an engaging, suspenseful narrative while imparting essential facts about the life cycle of the most common owl in North America.

Continue reading