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Grab your oatmeal and orange juice. Flip some flapjacks. Spread some peanut butter on that toast. And while you’re munching, go bananas with these silly breakfast stories!

monkey-with-a-tool-belt-and-the-maniac-muffins-cover-imageMonkey with a Tool Belt and the Maniac Muffins, written and illustrated by Chris Monroe
published in 2016 by Carolrhoda Books

Duluth-author (hooray!) Chris Monroe’s busy monkey, Chico Bon Bon, is back with his epic tool belt!

Chico’s buddy Clark is making giant pancakes for breakfast and things have gone completely lulu in a hot minute. Serious structural damage is happening in the kitchen courtesy of Clark’s bad aim and his ultra-dense pancakes!

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Not to worry. Chico’s tool-belt apron is loaded with everything from a pickle squeezer to a tofu toggle and he’s ready to step in and help. However, even as Chico cleans up a bit here and welds a bit there, Clark has moved along to the next item on the menu, his supersecret blueberry muffins.

This time, actual explosions result!

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Watch the pandemonium unfold, cheer as Chico’s brilliant problem-solving ability comes to the rescue, then use the recipes in the book to make your own delish breakfast treats, hopefully without any of the accompanying mayhem!

An uproarious delight for ages 2 and up.

the-worst-breakfast-cover-imageThe Worst Breakfast, written by China Miéville, illustrated by Zak Smith
published in 2016 by Black Sheep Books

China Miéville is a British author known for his outstanding fantasy novels, including Un Lun Dun which I reviewed here. I believe this is his first picture book. And it’s a doozy.

Two sisters are about to eat breakfast when they discover to their distress that the orange juice today has got “bits.” Pulp, if you will, that doesn’t go down well at all.

This spurs one sister to regale the other about the worst breakfast ever, a hideous affair of burnt toast, “severely underdone” eggs, gluey porridge…and a wild, tongue-twisting inventory of dozens more terrifying menu items! Jellied eels and salmagundi and rumbledethumps…oh my!

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There is grossness and nastiness here by the bowlful, illustrated with frenetic, fantastical abandon by Zak Smith.

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All is resolved in one simple, clever solution and the breakfast turns out to be pretty good after all. My guess is this book will turn the stomachs of a few and result in fiendish giggles for many others. Check it out for ages 3 and up and prepare to serve pulp-free OJ for awhile.

woodpecker-wants-a-waffle-cover-imageWoodpecker Wants a Waffle, written and illustrated by Steve Breen
published in 2016 by Harper Collins

Benny the woodpecker awakes one morning to a wonderful, “tummy-rumbling” smell wafting out from Moe’s “Home of the Hot Waffle Breakfast” grand opening.

Well, if you smelled some toasty warm waffles, you’d want a nibble, wouldn’t you? Benny certainly does, but try as he might, he can’t manage to sneak inside Moe’s restaurant. Woodpeckers, it seems, are not wanted!

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Benny takes his dilemma to a gathering of forest friends who initially mock his taste in waffles, but come around to conspire with him in carrying out his stupefying, spectacular solution. It’s a genius move on Benny’s part, full of last-minute twists that’ll surprise and delight you!

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Steve Breen is a fantastic storyteller. This one is dripping with good humor and maple syrup. Sure to please kids ages 3 and up, with a side dish of waffles, of course.

lady-pancake-and-sir-french-toast-cover-imageLady Pancake & Sir French Toast, written by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney
published in 2015 by Sterling Children’s Books

“Deep in the fridge and behind the green peas,
way past the tofu and left of the cheese,
up in the corner, and back by a roast,
sat Lady Pancake beside Sir French Toast.”

The contents of a refrigerator might seem to be a placid lot, but not in this tale! These two friends turn into fierce competitors when it’s discovered — horrors! — that there’s only a single drop of syrup left! And both of them want it for themselves.

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A galloping, careening race is on, up Potato Mash Mountain and through Chili Lagoon. Rappelling down linguini, sailing through soup, parachuting via lettuce leaf, these two run amok in an all-out sprint to that maple syrup bottle. Only to make a shocking discovery!

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Josh Funk knows exactly how to tickle kids’ funny bones with his dancing rhyme, while Brendan Kearney’s energized, anthropomorphic fruits and veggies, broccoli forests and stinky Brussels sprouts rocket the mayhem up deliciously. A second episode featuring all these same foody-friends comes out this year, The Case of the Stinky Stench. Read this one with ages 3 and up, and get in line for the sequel.

everyone-loves-bacon-cover-imageEveryone Loves Bacon, written by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Eric Wight
published in 2015 by Farrar, Straus, Giroux

Everyone loves bacon, and ol’ Mr. Bacon feels mighty smug about that. A bit hoity-toity. Lovin’ all that attention, you know.

As his celebrity star rises, Mr. Bacon becomes so obsessed with himself, he quite forgets his old friends back home. Who needs ’em? Bah! He’s got fans, my dear, fans!

Pride goeth before a fall, as the old proverb says, and in this case, Mr. Bacon finds out a bit too late that when everyone loves bacon…well…he’s just one mouthful away from a most startling finish!

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Wight’s bold food portraits and that strutting Mr. Bacon blast off the pages in jazzy, retro style. A cautionary delight for ages 3 and up.

You can find more breakfast goodies on a post I wrote several years ago, here. Happy breakfasting!

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This summer, again, I’m planning to create lists all-a-jumble with goodies from this year’s crop of picture books. Each one holds powerful seeds of ideas, wonder, imagination, creativity to germinate in our minds and hearts.

I’m getting a head start today with 10 outstanding titles. Take your pick!

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Spot, the Cat — a wordless book by Henry Cole
published in 2016 by Little Simon

Henry Cole’s brilliance in storytelling through his ink line drawings is on full display here in this captivating, cat-navigating, adventure.

spot the cat interior henry cole

A bird. A cat. An open window. Spot, the cat, leaps at the opportunity, but where does he go next? Tag along with Spot’s owner as we weave all over the city, trying to spot Spot! And nestle in with the coziest of endings. A most-satisfying journey for ages 3 and up.

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Leaps and Bounce: A Growing Up Story, by Susan Hood, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
published in 2016 by Disney Hyperion

Metamorphosis has never been so merry!

From the blobby mass of “round and spotted, polka-dotted” eggs to the “leaping, peeping, hopping, bopping” frogs who eventually emerge, this energetic guide entertains and informs seamlessly. It is a grand splash of fun!

leaps and bounce interior hood and cordell

And Matthew Cordell’s frogs! Have you ever seen such…

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happy…

leaps and bounce illustration detail matthew cordell
frogs?!

It’s a read-aloud winner, with exciting pages to unfold! Just right for this froggy time of year. Ages 2 and up.

the pancake king cover image

The Pancake King — story by Phyllis LaFarge, pictures by Seymour Chwast
originally published in 1971; republished by Princeton Architectural Press in 2016

Wow. I am loving the Princeton Architectural Press catalog! See for yourself what they’re up to at their website here.

This funky, remarkably-prescient story stars young Henry Edgewood who, one fine morning, decides to mix up some pancakes for breakfast. And oh my. They are delicious.

the pancake king illustration seymour chwast

Henry moves on to “buckwheat pancakes, blueberry pancakes, cornmeal pancakes, onion pancakes, and even blini. He ate them with maple syrup, blueberry syrup, sour cream, whipped cream, and apple butter.” And Henry was a whiz of a wiz if ever a wiz there was at flipping those flapjacks.

the pancake king illustration seymour chwast

However! What happens when Arthur J. Jinker swoops in ready to capitalize with a capital-C on Henry’s talents? A wild and sagacious tale for kids and grown ups ages 5 and up. *Includes Henry’s Famous Pancake recipe!

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Ideas Are All Around — written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead
published in 2016,a Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press

I suppose one of the most-frequently-asked questions of fiction writers is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Deeply-thoughtful, award-winning author/illustrator Philip Stead ambles through an apparently idea-less day with us in this unusual, inspired, quiet, book. In the process he, and we, discover the tiny, interesting, nuggets of ideas that surround us in our ordinary spaces.

ideas are all around interior by philip c. stead

Formatted with photos and drawings that turn us toward what Stead sees with his eyes and in his mind’s-eye, it’s a book that calls us to closer observation and deeper wondering. A lovely, thought-provoking ramble for children as young as 4, and for grown-ups, too.

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Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker — written and illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg
first published in 2015; first U.S. edition 2016 by Candlewick Press

This is the first of two peek-through stories on today’s list, and it’s brought to us in Full-On Charm by Jessica Ahlberg, daughter of Alan and Janet Ahlberg of The Jolly Postman (and many many other marvelous books.)

Little Lucy is reading to her wee dog, Mr. Barker, when floop! he chases a butterfly right out the window. When Lucy follows, she lands in another place altogether — a cozy room with a table that’s set with large, medium, and small bowls of porridge. That small bowl is being eaten right up by a young, golden-haired girl. “I know where we are,” says Lucy. Do you?

fairy tales for mr. barker interior by jessica ahlberg

Follow Lucy and Mr. Barker on their fairy-tale escapades, hopping from one room to the next and using the clues to figure out where you’ve landed. A perfect treat for ages 2 and up who know their fairy tales.

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Apples and Robins — written and illustrated by Lucie Félix
originally published in France in 2013; first U.S. edition 2016 by Chronicle Books

And here’s the second story featuring fabulously ingenuous die-cuts.

The narrative of this book follows an apple tree and a nest of robins through the seasons. But — Félix’s genius graphic design makes magic happen on every page in such surprising ways that the book also becomes a feast for the imagination.

Die cuts transform an initial set of shapes, like these five short rectangles and one long rectangle…

apples and robins interior lucie felix

into objects with the turn of a page. See the ladder?

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It’s a mind-fizzing set of transformations to accompany the changes taking place in the natural world. A marvel, for ages Under-Two and up.

little why cover image

Little Why, written and illustrated by Jonny Lambert
originally published in Great Britain; published in the U.S. in 2016 by Tiger Tales

There are gobs and gobs of books telling children that, “You are special.” This one does it with copious amounts of good-humor, tangy language, and wonderful, vivacious illustrations. Nothing sappy about it, thank you very much.

little why interior by jonny lambert

Little Why is a dinky elephant, gamely trying to keep up with the herd but distracted at every turn. Understandably. Those “spiny-spiky” horns of the wildebeest and “long-lofty” legs of the giraffe are mind-boggling. And Little Why wonders why-oh-why he can’t have some, too. This gets him in wayyy more trouble than you can believe! A joyous romp for ages 2 and up.

how to find gold cover image

How to Find Gold, written and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
first U.S. edition 2016 by Candlewick Press

Anna and her pal Crocodile are off to find gold. This is a dangerous and difficult venture! It requires secretive behavior, uncommon strength, cartography skills, and navigation in perilous seas!

how to find gold illustration viviane schwarz

But never fear. They’ve got this. This story is a heap of fun, an outrageously imaginative adventure, made possible by the faithful camaraderie of two brave friends. Enjoy it with ages 3 and up.

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Ten Kisses for Sophie! — written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells
published in 2016 by Viking

Aunt Prunella is having a birthday and Sophie’s mama is making her “favorite chocolate kisses with pistachio buttercream filling.” Wow. My mouth is watering.

ten kisses for sophie interior rosemary wells

Sophie is an able and enthusiastic cook’s-helper. What’s more, she shows incredible restraint, waiting to eat her chocolate kiss until everyone’s gathered for the party. But wait a second… One extra cousin has showed up and suddenly there aren’t enough kisses to go around!

See how this picklish, ticklish situation turns out in this charming book from one of the masters. Ages Two and up.

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Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois, by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
published in 2016 by Abrams Books for Young Readers

Louise Bourgeois was a world-renowned sculptor who is known, strangely enough, for her giant sculptures of spiders.

Why would anyone want to create a 30-foot-tall spider? 

cloth lullaby illustration isabelle arsenault

It’s quite a story. Louise’s mother was a weaver. She worked at restoring tapestries in France and taught Louise all about warp and weft, dye and wool, thread and intricate pattern. When Louise was a young woman, her mother died, and in her grief, Louise sculpted her first enormous spider, naming it Maman. For Louise, the spider did not represent something hideous, but an ingenuous thread-spinner, a repairer of broken filigree.

cloth lullaby illustration2 isabelle arsenault

Read this astonishing biography of Bourgeois, illustrated in the equally-astonishing lines, colors, and compositions of the amazing Isabelle Arsenault. Adults will love this, as will children ages 6 and up.

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Five years ago I started tentatively blogging about children’s literature, and what a treat this has turned out to be for me!

paddy pork odd jobs illustration john goodall

Besides the gluttonous amount of children’s literature I’ve devoured in that time, I’ve also learned a great deal from Other Bloggers Who Know More and even made some blogging acquaintances with people I wish I could meet for a cup of tea and a good chat. An unanticipated pleasure.

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So, I’m happy to celebrate Orange Marmalade’s fifth birthday, and want to say Thank You to my patient husband who puts up with my book addiction and to all of you who visit and share the wealth that is kids’ lit.

two speckled eggs cover imageTwo Speckled Eggs, written and illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann
published in 2014 by Candlewick

Ginger is having a birthday party. She wants to invite all the girls in her class…except one.

Lyla Browning.

Ginger is really a good kid. Not snooty. Not mean. It’s just that Lyla is so…odd.  I mean, she brings “a tarantula in a pickle jar for Show-and-Tell.” Trots about with a magnifying glass. Not anything like the other girls.

Ginger’s mother, however, puts her foot down. ALL the girls, or NONE of the girls. So, it’s Lyla Browning, too.

two speckled eggs illustration jennifer k. mann

A funny thing happens at the party, though. Ginger’s plans are unraveling; her friends are blistering along without much reference to her. Suddenly, the fact that Lyla Browning is not like the other girls is just what makes her the perfect, new friend.

Charming story, celebrating true friendship, individuality, and the curious appeal of speckled eggs. I love it. Jennifer Mann’s mixed media illustrations sparkle with personality, real life, and the glory of quirks. Ages 4 and up.

bug on a bike cover imageBug on a Bike, written and illustrated by Chris Monroe
published in 2014 by Carolrhoda Books

Look at that little roadie with his racy, red helmet and groovy spoke decor! Where is he headed?

Well, he’s not saying.

But rolling along merrily, he manages to collect scads of friends — and it is quite the eclectic group!

Toads, lizards, ants, yes. But also “an athletic pickle…lifting some weights,” a skateboarding bunny, a lithe green snake sporting a purple blouse. Up hill and down dale and soon there’s a l-o-n-g line of folks going who knows where!

bug on a bike interior chris monroe

Turns out — it’s Bug’s birthday party! And it’s a whangdiddly of a celebration! Everyone has a most jolly time, including our friend, the bug on a bike.

You will have a marvelous time, too,  jogging along with the crew and arriving at these superb party grounds. Wow. Chris Monroe’s rollicking, rhythmic text skips right along, while her sunny, tiny, Crayola-bright illustrations charm readers ages 3 and up.

Plus — she’s from Duluth. That’s major Minnesota points.

katie morag and the birthdays cover imageKatie Morag and the Birthdays, written and illustrated by Mairi Hedderwick
published in 2005 by The Bodley Head

I dearly love Katie Morag, the red-headed, gumptious gal in her Wellies, careening around the Isle of Struay. It’s a pity that more of her stories haven’t mainstreamed on this side of the pond.

This birthday extravaganza volume tracks through one year of the McColl family’s loving chaos and all the birthdays celebrated along the way.

There are lots of folks to celebrate — Katie’s baby sister Flora Ann is turning One, while Neilly Beag is 70 years young. Grannie Island, Granma Mainland, Liam, all the Big Boy Cousins…even the sheep and the dog have birthdays to mark.katie morag and the birthdays illustration mairi hedderwick

For Katie, every day that is not her birthday is a pinch of agony. “WHEN will it be MY birthday?” she moans. Not to worry — it’s a lovely one when her turn comes.

I love the out-of-doors wildness of life on Struay, and I adore the mussy household of the McColls, so similar to the realistic untidiness of Shirley Hughes’ families. The blustering strength, simple creativity, and genuine affection between all these characters makes for bracing, happy tales.

Besides all that, you get some Jolly Extras in this book including clever birthday cards and crafts to make, and the recipe for a jim-dandy castle cake with plenty of biscuits and chocolate! It’s a treat for ages 4 and up.

happy birthday bunny cover imageHappy Birthday, Bunny! by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
published in 2013 by Beach Lane Books

This is a sweet little creampuff of a story, simply celebrating the birthday of quite a young bunny.

She’s turning three according to the candles on the cake, but…she doesn’t really know what birthdays are made of yet.

So she asks lots of questions, and learns all about party clothes, wishing on candles, saying cheese for the camera, and being surrounded by a loud, loving, happy group of well-wishers.

happy birthday bunny scanlon and graegin

By that time, a drowsy bunny is ready to be tucked into bed.

Scanlon’s gently rhyming text is chock full of love and sweetness without being cloying. Graegin’s illustrations also pack in every ounce of charm possible with cute woodland animals, darling party clothes, happiness everywhere, in nursery pinks, blues, and honey-yellows. Try this for under-One to Three-Year-Olds who like Cute.

the birthday cake cover imageThe Birthday Cake (The Adventures of Pettson and Findus), written and illustrated by Sven Nordqvist
published in Sweden in 1985; first published in the U.S. in 2015 by NorthSouth

Goofy Pettson is an old bachelor who lives in a fetching, Swedish-red cottage amongst green fields and meadows. Quite idyllic, I’d say.

His companion is a cat named Findus. Together, these two have many adventures well known to Swedish children, and this birthday fiasco is one of them.

It’s Findus who’s having the birthday. He has three each year because birthdays are such fun. And for every one of them, Pettson makes him a scrumptious cake out of Swedish pancakes and whipped cream. Yum!

The process of making the cake this time around is fraught with difficulty. Pettson discovers he needs more flour. But his bike tire is flat. So, he heads for the shed to fix the tire, but it’s locked up tight and the key is missing.

Each step of the way, things get more confoundedly messed up. Pettson is a determined fellow, though, and inventive, and persuasive when it comes to dragging Findus into the mix.

In the end, and encompassing a fishing rod, an angry bull, an opera singer, a yellow-and-red floral curtain and a truckload of moxie…Pettson and Findus finally sit down to their delicious, creamy, birthday cake.

the birthday cake sven nordqvist illustration

There’s silliness galore in this winning story, with bright paintings of Pettson’s Swedish countryside adding immensely to the entertainment. It’s a longish story, just waiting to tickle the funny bones of kids ages 5 and up.

Plus — there’s a recipe for Pettson’s pancakes and directions to make them into your own delicious cake!

Thanks again for visiting Orange Marmalade!

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poetry friday

Finishing off a delicious week with the classic pancake poem…

Puppy making pancakes from verymerryvintagestyle dot blogspot dot comMix a Pancake
by Christina Rossetti

Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan;
Fry the pancake,
Toss the pancake —
Catch it if you can.

 

Hope to see you Monday. I’ve got five excellent titles for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

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Since we’re on a breakfast theme this week, I’ve got this vintage, full-of-pancakes, Newbery-Honor novel for you:

pancakes-paris cover imagePancakes — Paris, by Claire Huchet Bishop, illustrated by Georges Schrieber

He had just rounded the corner when he heard big footsteps behind him and somebody calling, “Charles! Charles!” and it was Jerry Brick, and he put a box in Charles’s hands, and John O’Connor, who had caught up with them, laughed and said, “Pancakes! Jerry got two packages of them this morning from home. And he gave me one….I’ve been lugging it around all day!…And now we give it to you.”

Of course, he said all this in English, and Charles did not understand a pancakes-paris illustration georges schreiber 001word of it except that the box was for him…But Jerry Brick said slowly, “Pancakes…crrêppes…”

After they had gone, he leaned against the wall in the black street, propped up a knee, and opened his schoolbag and slipped the package into it, so that nobody could see it as he climbed the stairway of the house. As he walked slowly up the rickety stairs he kept thinking of all Louise and Rémi had said about BEFORE, and suddenly he remembered about the crêpes! But that was what the American had been trying to say when he had given him the box!…Could it be possible that the box he had given him could make crêpes? It sounded fantastic. But you never knew with Americans. There was always magic with them…Well, he would not talk to a soul about it. Not even to his mother. It would be a secret. And a surprise.

Charles Dumont is 10 years old, living in post-war Paris. That’s just barely old enough to remember what life was like BEFORE the war; to believe, even, the older children’s tales of warm homes and shoes, milk and eggs, and luxuries of bananas and oranges and cocoa which they claim were enjoyed by everyday persons!

pancakes-paris illus2 georges schreiber 001Charles lives with his mother and little sister Zézette. His father died during the war. Life is acutely difficult. Food is meager. Charles bears far more responsibilities than any Social Services agency would stand for in our day. 

One spring afternoon, Charles meets two American soldiers — Jerry and John — who need his help finding their way in his neighborhood. Charles refuses payment; his mother has taught him never to accept charity. Yet when they  hand him a mysterious package, jabbering something in English, Charles is left the proud owner of…what? 

Turns out it’s American pancake mix. Now 1930s Aunt Jemima BoxCharles is hatching a grand plan to surprise his mother and sister with crêpes for Mardi Gras, just as all Parisians would have done BEFORE. Only, he can’t read the English directions. The measurements are unintelligible.  He has no milk, and not even the tiniest bit of fat to grease the pan. 

Charles’ determination is met, in the end, by a tremendous outpouring of generosity, love, and jovial friendship from Jerry and John, all adding up to a pancake feast to rival any of the BEFORES!

Claire Huchet Bishop won a Newbery Honor for this novel, written in 1947. As an American born and educated in France, Bishop uniquely conveys both a cherishing of Paris, a fondness and aubervilliers 1947 by Stettner from jacksonfineart dot comrespect for the French people of this era, and an equal dose of American pride. This poignant story portrays the gnawing poverty experienced by so many living in post-war Europe, as well as their courage and strength; the matter-of-fact resolve of the children and their adaptation to austerity, alongside the spilling-over joy that comes from sharing with those in need and providing abundance in place of privation.

Numerous lithographs in brown-white-and-black by artist George Schreiber bring the children and Parisian architecture, G.I.’s and American Embassy workers to life. His robust line and lively figures remind me of James Daugherty, and he manages to capture Charles’ emotions and world beautifully.

At just over 60 pages, it’s a great read-aloud for ages 7 and up. There’s a bit of French tucked in, with place names and phrases, so although it’s short, it would need a stout independent reader. I think a dish of delectable crêpes are called for now, don’t you?!

Yum!

Yum!

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blueberry pancakes from kitchenkvell dot comA hearty breakfast on a cold, wintery morning…what could be better?! Crisp waffles with maple bent_fork_egg_cup from shesnotthemarryingkind dot blogspot dot comsyrup…oatmeal decked out with cranberries and coconut… a cheery poached egg à la Francis! Oh my, I’m making myself hungry! Time to dive into five delicious books about the morning meal!

Pancakes for Breakfast, a wordless book by Tomie DePaola

pancakes for breakfast cover image tomie depaolaIn her snug red house, nestled in the snowy hills of New England, one little lady awakes in her pink nightcap, dreaming of pancakes! Tying her apron aroung her ample waist, she opens her cookery book and begins.

But, alas! No eggs.

Not to worry. It’s just a short walk on the snowy path to the chicken coop where there are fresh eggs a-plenty. Now, on with the cooking!pancakes for breakfast illustration depaola from blog dot allaboutlearningpress dot com

Except, the milk jug is empty. Out she goes again to milk the cow. Then she’s got to churn the butter. Phew! Making pancakes is turning out to be a peck of trouble! Things go from slow to catastrophic when the cat and dog are left alone in the kitchen, but in the end, this plucky woman sits down to a giant stack of flapjacks. How does she manage it?!

Tomie DePaola’s signature style tells this charming, funny, surprising story, that’s been loved and in-print for almost 40 years. Not a single word in it; just dandy for preschoolers and up. You can even make the pancakes from the cookery book recipe!

is anybody up cover image kandoianIs Anybody Up? written and illustrated by Ellen Kandoian

Tousle-haired Molly is the first one awake in her household in New England. Alone in her sunny kitchen (well, her teddy bear is keeping her company!) she helps herself to breakfast — cereal and bananas.

Along an invisible line stretching from North to South, many other early-risers are eating quite different breakfasts in their interesting, diverse homes.

Thousands of miles north, in a tiny town on Baffin Bay, an Inuit woman makes griddle cakes, while in theis anybody up illustration ellen kandoian 001 tropical sun washing her Haitian home, another small girl munches peanut butter on bread, and farther south still, high in the thin air of the Andes, a little boy in a woolsy sweater breakfasts on roasted corn.

Dropping in oh-so-briefly on ten breakfasts strung along one time zone — what a lovely book this is! Kandoian’s gentle watercolors transport us to these beautiful places and people and cultures. Before we’re through, each breakfaster greets another member of her household in her own language — such a nice touch. A short note about time zones is included, aimed at early elementary readers. It’s a charming out-of-print book worth searching out for ages 3 -7.

hey pancakes cover image gammellHey, Pancakes! written by Tamson Weston, illustrated by Stephen Gammell

Breakfast hoopla exuberantly dances through the pages of this book! No early-morning quietness about it! Maybe that’s because there’s nary a parent to be seen.

Just three kids and a dog, whipping up some pancakes for breakfast. Batter spraying, dribbling, splotting! Pancakes sailing, flipping, stacking! Orange juice and maple syrup dribbling! And a blueberry stuck right on the tip of hey pancakes illustration stephen gammellthe little one’s nose.

Jubilation and scrumptiousness, that’s what this breakfast is made of. Weston’s rhyming text bounces merrily along, and Gammell’s characteristic spritzing, singing, energetic line and color are a festive partner. A recipe for Grandma’s Pancakes is included so your kids can make their own mayhem! Delightful for ages 2 and up.

sunny side up cover image jeni bassettSunny Side Up: A Mr. Poggle and Scamp Book, by Valiska Gregory, pictures by Jeni Bassett

Mr. Poggle and Scamp are two cuddly dogs who live together in a thatch-roof cottage tucked into the cool, green woods. Darling as a plump cinnamon bun.

Today Mr. Poggle decides on eggs sunny side up for their breakfast. Scamp thinks toast goes nicely with that. He’s looking forward to one of his favorite sunny side up illustration bassett 001meals!

Mr. Poggle kindly lets Scamp help with the egg-cracking and the toasting, but oh dear. This does not go so well. Scamp’s spirits are dashed, but patient Mr. Poggle always sees a way to redeem the broken yolks and burned crumbs. At their cheery table, Scamp declares that “breakfast has a way of turning sunny side up no matter what.” How pleasant to help others feel that way after accidents and mistakes. I think we all want a Mr. Poggle in our lives, and to be Mr. Poggle for others, don’t we?

It’s a lovable little book, part of a series written in the 80s, which are out-of-print. Small size for small hands. Dear pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations of a diminutive, inviting, cheerful world. Ages 2 and up.

rainy morning cover image pinkwaterRainy Morning, by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

Do you know Daniel Pinkwater? If you do, you know you’d better be Ready For Anything each time you open one of his books! This wild and quirky story made me laugh out loud with its mad cram of Conviviality!

Mr. and Mrs. Submarine live companionably in a capacious, electric yellow and shocking pink house. It’s a rainy morning, so what else is there but to eat several breakfasts? 

It’s during Breakfast #3 that the Submarines notice a bedraggled cat peering in the window. They invite him in for a hot corn muffin. Their large-and-shaggy dog is scratching at the door, too. In he comes, and scarfs his own muffin. But would you look at that, the horse is looking soaked and unhappy, too. Mr. Submarine whistles him in as Mrs. rainy morning illustration jill pinkwater 001Submarine sets to mixing up more muffins.

Well, you will simply NOT BELIEVE who all joins the Submarines for corn muffins and tea on this rainy morning!! My oh my! It is more-than-a-houseful and even requires the Pinkwaters to include a tiny lexicon of German words so we can understand one remarkable visitor.

With eye-popping illustrations rendered in “magical markers” and bigger surprises at every page turn, this tale will tickle the imaginations and funny bones of kids ages 4 and up!

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