[tasty review] Food Truck Fest! by Alexandra Penfold and Mike Dutton

Kogi Short Rib Tacos

 

So, what do you fancy right this minute?

A little sushi, falafel, spicy chili, or a pulled pork sandwich? Wanna wrap your lips around some Brazilian barbecue, dim sum, kimchi tacos, Indian dosas or souvlaki?

 

Souvlaki GR, NYC

 

If you’re craving something sweet, there’s ice cream, Filipino halo-halo, cupcakes, frozen yogurt, red velvet pancakes, or mini donuts.

 

Mama’s Apple Cider Donut Bites

 

What’s that? You’d like a bite of everything? Well, you needn’t drive to a dozen places — just go to the Food Truck Fest!

Brooklyn author Alexandra Penfold and Google Doodles illustrator Mike Dutton joyfully invite readers to rustle up their appetites and sip, slurp, chew, lick and munch right through their tasty new picture book, Food Truck Fest! (FSG, 2018).

Told in rollicking rhyming couplets, this lipsmacking romp details an exciting and oh-so-satisfying outing featuring our favorite kitchens-on-wheels.

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singing the picture book blues

“To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold —  brothers who know now they are truly brothers.” ~ Archibald MacLeish

Art ©2018 Ashley Crowley (The Boy and the Blue Moon)

 

I’m diving and flying into the deep blue today with a trio of recently published picture books. I love immersing myself in the beauty, wonder, and heart of these cleverly conceived and beautifully executed stories. Oh, for the ultimate blueness of water and sky!

Whether considering the unique “adventures” of a beloved object, pondering the many colors of the world, or taking a magical journey to the moon, these three blue ribbon titles will touch, delight, and inspire, and are already well on their way to becoming perennial favorites.

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Little Blue Chair by Cary Fagan and Madeline Kloepper (Tundra Books, 2017).  In this enchanting, heartwarming story, we follow the journey of a little blue wooden chair as it travels “from place to place and bottom to bottom.” It starts out as young Boo’s favorite chair; he sits in it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, reads on it outdoors and makes a tent around it. When he outgrows it, his mother leaves it by the mailbox, where a man with a truck picks it up.

He sells the blue chair to a junk shop, where it eventually goes home with a lady who uses it as a plant stand. Each time the chair is no longer needed, it is passed on to someone else who deems it perfect for his/her needs. The chair sails the high seas, is propped atop an elephant for rides, and is enjoyed as a birdseed platform and ferris wheel seat, before it’s won by another little boy, who uses it on his go-kart and as a king’s throne.

Held aloft by three balloons, the blue chair then floats back over the ocean and wondrously lands in the front garden of a grown-up Boo, who repaints it and passes it on to his daughter.

This story has a reassuring feeling of continuity to it, as the blue chair circles back to its original owner. Though the ending is a bit predictable, the narrative itself is not, as each time the chair changes hands the circumstances are novel and interesting. Kloepper’s charming ink and pencil illustrations make good use of white space, allowing the blue chair to take center stage in each scene. A whimsical, satisfying story about the rewards of repurposing, reminding us that the inherent value of any object is only limited by our imagination.

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[review] H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by Sydell Rosenberg and Sawsan Chalabi

#55 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.

Children’s umbrellas glistening in the rain, roadside sunflowers turning their heads, a dreaming cat encircled by its furry tail.

These are a few of my favorite “small moments” from this charming new picture book, H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by Sydell Rosenberg and Sawsan Chalabi (Penny Candy Books, 2018).

According to her daughter Amy Losak, “Syd” (who passed away in 1996) had a “gift for life,” a unique ability to find joy in small everyday moments that the average person might overlook. A keen observer with an innate spirit of adventure, she was able to make the ordinary extraordinary through her haiku and senryū.

 

Syd and Amy

 

Syd started writing poetry as a child, and for decades while teaching in NYC public schools, she published both poetry and prose in various journals and anthologies. She was also a charter member of the Haiku Society of America in 1968. But Syd was never able to fulfill her dream of publishing a book of haiku for children until now.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Recently I’ve been on a Becca Stadtlander kick, browsing her work online and catching up with the children’s books she’s illustrated so far.

You might know her from David Elliott’s On the Wing (Candlewick, 2014), Eugenie Doyle’s Sleep Tight Farm (Chronicle Books, 2016), or maybe even the two Classics Unfolded titles she’s done — The Secret Garden and Pride and Prejudice (these are 14-scene concertina fold-out books).

I particularly love her still life paintings. Her fine lines, delicate details and pleasing compositions lend a unique beauty to everyday objects.

And isn’t this butterfly painting gorgeous?

You can purchase prints at her Etsy Shop and greeting cards at Red Cap Cards. And do look for the books she’s illustrated if you’re not already familiar with them. Just lovely!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. It’s Poetry Month, so why not celebrate with a cool handmade magnet by Robyn Hood Black of artsyletters? This beauty with the one and only Edgar Allan Poe features an authentic postage stamp issued to commemorate Poe’s 200th birthday in 2009. It’s collaged onto a 2″ x 2″ painted canvas board with a magnetic disc on the back. Imagine Poe’s eyes following you from the fridge! 🙂

Nevermore for Poe? How about a lovely Emily Dickinson magnet, which features an 8 cent stamp issued in 1971?

I also love this OOAK Found Poem mixed media/collage piece. The image is from the May 2015 issue of Woman’s World, and features a lovely lady from a 1915 talcum powder advertisement. Two vintage topaz-colored glass hearts dangle from the bottom of the fancy vintage dark bronze color metal frame made in Italy. There’s a chain attached to the back for easy hanging.

Read more about these items and check out all the other goodies at artsyletters (gift packs, bookmarks, cards, prints, jewelry, etc.). Treat a poetry loving friend (or yourself) to a special gift this month!

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2. New Book Alert: Today is official release day for Terrific Tongues! by Maria Gianferrari and Jia Liu (Boyds Mills Press, 2018)!

This fascinating and whimsical nonfiction picture book uses humorous comparisons and playful artwork to teach children the unusual ways that a variety of animals–from woodpeckers to snakes to bats–use their tongues to find food, eat, and clean themselves.

In this nonfiction picture book, kids will learn about the woodpecker, which uses its tongue to burrow for insects under tree bark; the okapi, which can wash its face and ears with its tongue; and the octopus, which uses its tongue to drill holes in shells. Through debut illustrator Jia Liu’s bright, playful collage artwork, readers can imagine what it would be like to have a tongue like a sword, like a straw, or like a party blower, among many other silly and illuminating comparisons. The back matter expands on each animal tongue’s unique abilities and includes information about other fun tongues, too.

Sounds like a fun book on a fascinating subject. Washing your face and ears with your tongue is quite a feat, and I admit I wouldn’t mind having a tongue like a straw: efficient and ecologically responsible. 🙂 Can’t wait to see this book!

Happy Pub Day, Maria and Jia!

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3. Another New Book Alert: Book 3 in the wildly popular Jasmine Toguchi chapter book series is officially out today! Welcome to the world Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl by Debbi Michiko Florence and Elizabet Vukovic (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018):

 

It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths―tree-climbing, mochi making, collage―none of them feel quite right to perform on-stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yo’s, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she’ll have the best talent.

When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap?

Join Jasmine as she discovers her talent―and the difference between being the best and trying your best.

I loved Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen and Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth and can’t wait to read this one!

* Check out the special Jasmine Toguchi Swag Bag Drawing!

Includes silk-screened bag created by illustrator Elizabet Vukovic, 2 author-signed Jasmine paperbacks (Books 1+2), 1 author-signed hardcover of Drummer Girl, Jasmine flamingo t-shirt and more!

 

For a chance to win all these goodies, simply email a copy/photo of your sales receipt for Drummer Girl to: jasminetoguchibooks (at) gmail (dot) com by April 25, 2018. Earn an extra entry by sharing your Amazon review link on social media.

Happy Pub Day, Debbi and Elizabet!!

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4. I don’t know about you, but I am wildly excited about the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018. I think the entire world is craving a happy occasion for a change. When it comes to breathtakingly beautiful pageantry you can’t beat the British, and this time the bride is American. WooHoo!

Why not feed your anticipation with a Harry and Meghan Coloring Book or Paper Doll set? Oh, how I love to play . . .

Here’s the Harry and Meghan: A Love Story Coloring Book by Yorkshire artist Teresa Goodridge (Dover, 2018):

Their love captivated the world — now the royal romance will inspire your imagination! The engagement of dashing Prince Harry of Wales and beautiful American actress Meghan Markle made headlines and their wedding in May of 2018 is sure to do the same. You can be part of the excitement with 30 beautiful and ready-to-color illustrations that capture the magic of their heartwarming love affair. Plus, the pages are perforated for easy removal and display.

And here’s the Royal Wedding: Harry and Meghan Paper Dolls set (Random House — release date April 10, 2018):

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to marry at Windsor Castle in May 2018. With these paper dolls, you can cut them out and dress them up in their engagement outfits, the camping outfits they might have worn while hanging out in Botswana, what they might wear to a glamorous Hollywood party, the unicorn onesies we’re sure they wear at home in their cottage, and, of course, what they might wear on the big wedding day itself! Mix and match their outfits as you learn more about their whirlwind romance!

So fun! Both items are nice commemoratives for royal watchers of any age. Pip pip and Cheerio!

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5. I know, I know. We’re just about mid-way through and I can hear your tummy rumblings. Food, you must have food! Do I know you, or what? 🙂

So, I happily present this: A Cheeseburger Made Entirely Out of Cheese created by Tastemade. Perfectly logical, so much so, I wonder why no one had thought of it before — and there’s an ultimate purpose to this dairy overload besides clever appearance — wait till the end to see what it is:

Now, THAT’S what I call cheesy fries. 😀

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6. Pottery Fix: I’m in love with Hogben Pottery! Handmade in the UK, each piece is individual and unique. The colors are just luscious: cream, eau-de-nil, pink, denim blue. grey or primrose. There are a variety of decorations that are hand sculpted, hand painted, and then applied to the pottery (choose from mugs in two sizes and jugs in three sizes).

Dog lovers will be happy to see there are dalmatians, golden retrievers, black labs, fox terriers, and jack russells. Other sweet decorations include strawberry, pansy, sheep, hen, cat and leaping hare.

I’m attracted to the blissful simplicity of this line — lovely, understated, a bit whimsical and classy. You know you’re not going to get tired of these pieces and since no two are ever exactly the same, this gives them a certain character. They do ship to the U.S. (call for quotes). See more here.

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7. I’m still thinking about Simon and Garfunkel after writing a review of When Paul Met Artie by G. Neri and David Litchfield a couple of weeks ago. Enjoyed this video of Art reading a note to his younger self as part of the CBS This Morning series “Note to Self.” Was good to hear the words of wisdom he offered at age 72.

Love the personal photos (his son was adorable), old S&G clips, and reflections on singing and fame. And did you know he’s a lefty?

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8. Mice, mice, needle felted mice. Who can resist? Recently discovered Marta Pérez-Solero’s creations at her Etsy shop OliverBrie.

Her pieces have a lot of personality and I like the little accessories that come with. Great detail and you can’t help but imagine stories for these adorable creatures. Now I just need to find a wealthy benefactor to buy me one. 😀

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9. Finally, another Poetry Month treat: check out this E. E. Cummings Quote Locket from Busy Beez and Chickadeez. “i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)” is one of my fave Cummings poems, and what better way to keep this beautiful line close than in a personal locket?

The quote appears on one side, and a brass heart stamping appears on the other. There’s an ivory Czech glass bellflower and olive green leaf on the front of the locket. Pretty, no? More details here.

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For our blue song, here’s Linda Rondstadt with “Blue Bayou,” her signature song which became a big hit in 1977. What a versatile songbird! Sad that she can no longer sing because of Parkinson’s disease.

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HAPPY TUESDAY!

THINK BLUE

BE KIND

EAT PIE


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Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.