Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Picture Book Puzzler: Cooking Up a Storm

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

The winter is always my favorite time to spend time in my kitchen, roll up my sleeves and cook up something delicious or warm. Whether it’s a loaf of fresh bread, a new soup recipe or something sweet for a friend’s birthday, spending the time to make something delicious by hand is always so rewarding. Cooking and baking with kids can also be such a great activity. There are tons of kid-friendly recipes for you and your young ones to try available online and in cookbooks. Reading picture books about cooking together is also a great way to get hesitant little chefs excited about trying to cook. For today’s Picture Book Puzzler, I’ve pulled some images of chefs and bakers from ten different picture books. Can you name each book? Put your guesses in the comments below and I’ll be back at the end of the week with answers.











Do you have a favorite picture book about cooking or baking? What’s your favorite thing to cook up with kids?


Pancakes, Pancakes!

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

After yesterday’s maple syrup post, I’m in the mood for pancakes! Even among the fussiest eaters, pancakes are usually a breakfast favorite. But what goes into making pancakes? Two of my favorite picture books explain it all quite nicely:

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola (Harcourt, 1978)

This wordless picture book shows with comic and cartoon-like illustrations the steps that go into making pancakes. The hungry woman in this book does not use a mix! She gets all her ingredients fresh from the farm (okay fine, she doesn’t grind her own wheat to make her own flour) even if that means going outside to collect the eggs from hens and to milk the cow and churn it into butter. I love that she even buys fresh maple syrup from a neighbor. With all the freshest ingredients collected, these are bound to be the best pancakes ever. But when she gets home, she finds she’s going to have change her plans! This funny, surprise ending leaves readers with the motto “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Look closely at the illustration and you can read Tomie’s own pancake recipe to try and make your own. (Shhh, I won’t tell if you don’t churn your own butter to make them!)

Once you’ve tried Tomie’s pancakes, you have to try out Eric Carle’s recipe next! It’s included in the back of Pancakes, Pancakes! (Simon & Schuster, 1990). Eric’s preferred pancake is thin like a crepe, which you can eat flat or rolled up with jam or maple syrup inside! They’re “devastatingly delicious”. Here’s a photo of Eric eating pancakes for breakfast!

In Pancakes, Pancakes, Jack wants pancakes for breakfast but he has to get all the ingredients before his mother can make them. I love this book because it really goes into the detail of not only how pancakes are made, but how a variety of foods we take for granted, get on our plates. To get flour, Jack must go cut down wheat from the fields and take it to the miller to grind into flour, gather eggs from the hens, milk the cow and churn the butter. There are also wonderful step-by-step illustrations in Eric Carle’s beautiful cut paper collage technique showing how to prepare and cook pancakes. After reading this book, you and your kids have no excuse not to make your own!

Just be careful you don’t make yours too big or you might have a real problem on your hands!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett (Simon & Schuster, 1978)

Do you have a favorite book about pancakes?

Friday Favorite: The Maggie B.

Friday, January 28th, 2011

At The Carle Bookshop we specialize in backlist picture books. Backlist is bookseller talk for the not-so-new picture books that you often can’t find at other bookstores. We carry the fabulous new books too (make sure to read our weekly Top of the Shelf posts for new book recommendations), but we know what makes us unique are the shelves and shelves of picture books you remember from your childhood or books you read to your own children. Each Friday, we’ll highlight one of these special older titles in case you may have missed it or forgotten about it along the way. Let’s keep the picture book alive and loved, shall we?

This week’s Friday Favorite is from 1975:

The Maggie B. by Irene Haas (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

This is what I would call a quiet book. A book meant to be read together, one-on-one, all tucked in and cozy.  Margaret Barnstable wishes for her own sailing ship one night and when she wakes up, she’s aboard The Maggie B.  She’s captain, crew, and cook all in one, with only her little brother for company, and she couldn’t be happier. In this fantasy adventure with no mention of parents, Margaret’s in charge and is like a parent herself, looking after her baby brother. Unlike a lot of modern books of sibling rivalry, these two get along just fine all on their own.

I love how Margaret’s character is completely competent and fearless. When a storm hits the boat, she’s bravely out in the thick of it preparing the ship and then is able to keep her brother calm, cozy and oh-so-well fed down below deck. The book taps perfectly into a child’s fascination with being the parent and playing “grown-up.” In contrast to her cluttered modern bedroom with too-big furniture on the first page, on The Maggie B., Margaret keeps a tidy, perfect-sized kitchen complete with old-fashioned oil lamps and a hand-pump sink. Dressed in a kerchief and apron, she resembles an little old lady, bustling around cooking, cleaning, gardening and looking after the baby.

The illustrations alternate between subtle watercolors and black-and-white drawings, and the soothing rhythmic text is dabbled with bits of sweet songs to sing. While aboard the Maggie B. the illustrations are small and contained on the page, reinforcing that this is a safe and cozy place. And indeed, this is a cozy book about true adventure and freedom.  Margaret runs a tight ship and I for one would spend a day on The Maggie B. anytime.