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Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Popcorn Astronauts And Other Biteable Rhymes, written by Deborah Ruddell and illustrated by Joan Rankin. Margaret K. McElderry, Simon & Schuster. 2015. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"A Smoothie Supreme

This smoothie's a doozie -
you're quite the gourmet!
Your brilliant concoction
just blows me away!

That eye-catching color
of yellowish-brown,
those delicate flavors,
so hard to pin down ... "

The team that gave us poetic pleasure in Today at the Bluebird Cafe and A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk is reunited. I am thankful; both books remain among my favorites for sharing in poetry workshops and with children. Now, I can add this third one to the set. The subject is food.

In 21 themed poems, Deborah Ruddell presents seasonal favorites, from strawberries in spring to mac and cheese in winter. Each is a tasty delight that is sure to conjure up memories of shared meals in every season.  Spring and the allure of warm weather suggests a picnic:


Put a shade tree in the basket
with a baseball and a blanket
and the green grapes and the baked beans
and your bow-wow and your blue jeans
and a hot dog and a hilltop
and the cupcakes and the flip-flops
and a daydream and a drumstick ...
easy-breezy, it's a PICNIC!"

It makes you want the sun to shine brighter, and the robins to keep on singing.

As we pass from one season to the next, the poems entice us with deliciousness and envy. My mouth waters as each of the food items is described, although the watermelon lake does nothing for me (how can you hate watermelon, you might ask). Now apples are a different story altogether, Bring them on, fall:

"21 Things to
Do with an Apple

Wash  it
Dry it
Apple-pie it
Bite it
Gnaw it
Paint it
Draw it
Twirl it
Float it
Caramel-coat it
Lunch it
Crunch it
Sunday-brunch it
Peel it
Slice it
Cinnamon-spice it
Sell it
Spell it
Show-and-tell it
Tug-of-war it
Just ignore it"

Are you hungry yet?

Every poem is accompanied by the delightful watercolor artwork that Joan Rankin has so successfully filled with bright color and the many details that will capture attention and invite discussion of foods, seasons and family meals.

I love lemon bars; this is definitely my favorite from this most welcome book.

"The Big Question

I'm wondering if you would mind
or would you ever be inclined
or is there any outside chance
(because I'm asking in advance)
that it would somehow be okay ...
Well, here's the thing I need to know ...
I hate to ask, but here I go:
Sooo ... do you think that you could share
that yummy-looking lemon square?"

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