Author: Julie Paschkis
Illustrator: Julie Paschkis
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publication Date: September, 2012
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: In this lovely valentine of a book, Julie Paschkis offers young readers a glimpse of the extraordinary world that can be hidden in the simplest of things. Alfonso loves his colorful, magical existence. He also loves the brilliant, beautiful Ida. But Ida, nose in a book, just doesn’t seem to notice. Can he win her heart with a cake of his own creation if the salt is gathered from the deep blue ocean, the butter from the summer sun, and flour like snowflakes from a night sky? An exquisitely illustrated story about imagination for children, but also a wonderful gift for lovestruck adults. (A treasured family recipe for apple cake included!)
What I Think: Books about food that have recipes in them are dear to my stomach...er, heart. Food and cooking and recipes make me think of family and holidays and comfort and nurturing. I have memories of favorite foods or meals from my childhood as I'm sure most people do. My grandmother always made me fried eggs that were kind of cooked but kind of runny...and she would make the best pancakes and toast that I would dip in those just-right runny eggs. My grandfather would spend time cutting grapefruits in half and then using a knife and one of those spiky spoons to cut out each little segment of grapefruit. He would fill glass jars with grapefruit and then we would eat it cold after it was in the fridge for a while. Never have eggs or grapefruit tasted so good than when they were made especially for me by my grandparents.
Food and recipes are kind of like books and reading aloud in that the food is great, but the connection with who was the chef behind that food makes as big of an impact as the person who reads books does in shaping that memory. We have favorite foods and favorite books but the people and emotions we connect with those foods and those books are as much a part of that memory as the food and the book themselves.
It makes sense then, that books with recipes are doubly awesome. In my opinion, they definitely are. It's no secret that I love celebrating books. If a book inspires me to get crafty, get silly, or get to cooking, I'm all about it. As we near the holidays, a time when I love celebrating traditions, I think about having some extra time to bake since we'll be on winter break. Snowy days that force me to be inside, snuggled up, and cozy with something baking are bliss. This simply story is a sweet telling of how Alfonso wooed Miss Ida by baking her an apple cake. Save this book for Valentine's Day if you have your fair share of wintry, holiday books!
Read Together: Pre-K - 2
Read Alone: K - 2
Read With: Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper, Everything On a Waffle by Polly Horvath, Pie by Sarah Weeks, Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson, Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
Snatch of Text:
"Beautiful, kind, brilliant Ida...
always kept her nose in a book.
What could be more interesting than her book?"Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Predictions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository - How-To, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Interview a family member or friend about his or her favorite recipe. Watch or help him or her cook the recipe, write a step-by-step how-to piece. Write about a memory of yours that is connected with a favorite food or favorite meal.
Topics Covered: Love, Perseverance, Determination, Integration - Cooking, Food, Cake
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