This is the origin story of a (fictional) hugely-popular bakery. Back in the Old Country, seven children decide to help their mama by baking bread. Like The Duchess Bakes a Cake, things quickly spiral out of control, but the flavor of this book is completely different:
“This is not just bread,” he cried. “It’s meat and potatoes!
It’s strudel and pie! It’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at
once! It’s apples and raisins, vodka and noodles, every taste
you ever wanted to taste, all in each wonderful bite.”
I always enjoyed this as a kid and it is now one of my youngest’s very favorites.
Caveat: Corporal punishment clearly is an option for this family, but the reference is fleeting.
Author: Melinda Green
Illustrator: Barbara Seuling
Posted in Picture Books
Tagged Barbara Seuling, bedtime, Bembelman's Bakery, city, Diverse Books, food, I read this as a kid, immigration, Melinda Green, out of print, Tall Tale, The Duchess Bakes a Cake
The king of Naples has everything he could possibly want, but nothing satisfies him. Only when he leaves the palace and learns to share with others is he able find true happiness. Fortunately, a spoonful of sugar (or slice of pizza) helps this message go down very easily.
The boys enjoy “ewwwwing” at the the endless weird fancy dishes the king eats (glazed jellyfish in octopus ink sauce garnished with twinkling starfish, anyone?) and they greatly enjoy hearing about the glories of the pizza that inspires him to change his ways. This book is fairly long for a read aloud, but their attention never waivers.
Author: Sylvester Sanzari
Illustrator: John E. Hurst
This is the perfect bedtime story for when your voice is giving out (which makes it very helpful to have in reserve this time of year). Pop in the enclosed CD, let Joni Mitchell provide the vocals, and enjoy the utterly fanciful art (the picture above is my oldest’s favorite).
Author: Joni Mitchell
Illustrator: Brian Froud
This book was our introduction to Mo Willems, a man who probably needs no introduction if you’ve had kids in the ten years or so. (If you haven’t, the quick version is he is brilliant.) Like his other books, Knuffle Bunny has a straightforward story: a favorite toy is left behind in a laundromat, communication issues ensue between a (barely) pre-verbal toddler and her father, and a happy ending is ultimately achieved. Like his other books, the art is cartoonish. And, like his other books, it absolutely connects with kids. This is an especially fun story for reading aloud–lots of voices and sounds and the kids love to hear how Knuffle Bunny is beloved, lost, and found and how the heroine finds her words.
Author: Mo Willems
Illustrator: Mo Willems
Singing, good morning America, how are you?
Saying, don’t you know me, I’m your native son?
I’m the train they call “The City of New Orleans.”
I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.
My boys are fascinated by trains, dragons, knights, planes, and astronauts. Anything that involves one or more of these subjects is likely to be a hit, so I have been keeping an eye out for The Train they Call the City of New Orleans ever since I saw a blog post showing its beautiful artwork. The only problem was that this book is out of print and was in the three-figure price range, but the ways of Amazon are mysterious and I recently snagged a copy for its original price. It is just as beautiful as it appeared and my boys are really enjoying it (especially when I read the words instead of singing them, alas!). If you’re interested in the song that inspired the book, I particularly like John Denver’s version (it comes from his CD on trains–which is really a good one).
Author: Steve Goodman
Illustrator: Michael McCurdy