Monday, November 21, 2011
Yummmm, Thanksgiving's coming!
I thought I'd read some picture books about food topics this week in anticipation of Thanksgiving, which is definitely one of my favorite holidays. Of course, you can hardly go wrong when the whole day is about food (and football).
I started with Luck with Potatoes by Helen Ketterman and illustrated by Brian Flocca. It's a story about poor Clemmon, a farmer down on his luck. Things go from bad to worse for Clemmon, until he's lost his whole herd of cows and is really at the end of his rope. He decides to take his last little bit of money and plant potatoes, and what do you know, they grow like nothing he's ever seen! Turns out those cows he lost have found their way back home inside the potatoes! Clemmon definitely has some Luck with Potatoes. This story is set in Tennessee and has some vocabulary that might not be familiar to all readers, so this would probably be better for a read aloud than individual reading for kiddos in Oregon.
Sweet Dream Pie was my next choice. And I will be having some sweet dreams about pie this week, I can tell you, but I hope they're not quite like these dreams.... This book is by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Mark Teague. The story begins with Pa Brindle begging Ma Brindle to bake him a sweet dream pie. she doesn't want to, reminding him of the last time, but he wears her down and she agrees. I am telling you, you have never seen such a pie! It's full of every sweet treat you could imagine - gumdrops, marshmallows, cinnamon red hots, jelly beans, even cookies. And it's a magical pie. You can tell that for many reasons - one being it's size, but also because it sort of lulls the whole neighborhood in - almost like a hypnotizing pie. By the time it's done, after a whole day, everyone is hoping to get a slice. Ma tells them to just have one, but no one listens. She knows no one is going to sleep well, and she's right. Their dreams come pouring out into the street, "dreams of every shape, size and color drifted up from their dreamers and began to sport and play." The illustrator shows the difference between the real and the dreams in a clever way, I think. This book is a delight visually, and it has a good lesson, especially just before a pig out holiday! One piece of pie, remember that!
Nutmeg by David Lucas was next on the list. Nutmeg is one of my favorite holiday spices, but in this book Nutmeg is a person. And even though she's named for a very tasty spice, the meals in her house are pretty bad - cardboard, string and sawdust. Always. Yuck. Always, that is, until Nutmeg lets a genie out of a bottle, and you know what that means. Three wishes. So what does she wish for? Something different for breakfast, something different for lunch and, you guessed it, something different for dinner. The genie gives her a magic spoon. You'll have to read the rest of this wild adventure to find out what "something different" means to the genie. Will the spoon add some spice to Nutmeg's life?
Helen Cooper's Pumpkin Soup was the last in my pile. Sounds perfect for a rainy fall night, doesn't it? I loved this book best of all of them. The illustrations are beautiful (it's an award winner for art!), the characters are adorable, and the story is funny and sad and worrisome and happy. Cat, Squirrel and Duck live together happily in a cabin in the woods. They've got a system and it works. Everyone pitches in and does his part, and everyone's roles are clear. But when someone wants to make a change, all heck breaks loose. They have a big fight and Duck runs away. No one is happy. Cat and Squirrel go in search of her, but they can't find him. Will he make it back? Has he been eaten by foxes? Did he find some better friends? These are all the questions that Cat and Squirrel ask themselves and all questions that will be answered when you read this lovely little book. Enjoy!