Peas Are Finally Planted


One of ML’s nickname is sweet pea.  When she was a baby somebody gave her a onesie with a picture of a pea and the word sweat-pea embroidered.  Her granddad stated calling her “Sweetpea.”  It stuck and is the term of affection I use with her.

ML devours sweet peas.  It’s one of her favorite snacks.  Last year we grew them.  ML ate them straight from the vine.  In this area the planting season for snow peas is recommended as Feb. 1 – Mar. 1.  I held off because of the crazy weather we’ve had this winter. Even with the evil words “wintry mix”  forcasted for our area a few days later, we planted the peas on March 20.  I hope we will enjoy a few homegrown snow peas before it gets too hot.  I’m a little concerned.  None of the seeds have sprouted yet.

Our favorite pea books include

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be by Mini Grey – The classic Princess and the Pea story told from the pea’s perspective.  A pea is picked from the garden, shelled, almost cooked, and plucked from the bowl at the last minute by the Queen’s decree to help find a princess for her son to marry.  After months of being stuck under 20 mattresses, the pea took matters in his own hands.  The result… a delightful life for the royal gardener and the prince.  Our favorite page in this book includes comical illustrations of polaroid pictures of various princesses.  A caption is under each picture.  Too loud, too quiet, too funny, too grumpy, too sleepy, too pink…

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace – Little pea is forced to eat candy everyday before he can have dessert.  A funny spin on the story of a picky child.  Guess what pea wants to eat instead?  It’s a special treat he’s only allowed to eat for dessert.  It’s green, starts with an S and ends with an H.  The illustrations are fun.  Our favorite… Papa Pea flying Little Pea off the spoon.

The Pea Blossom retold by and illustrated by Amy Lowry Poole – Based on a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, I didn’t know.  This book tells the story of five peas.  The smallest pea in the pod is patient; a trait his siblings do not possess.  This even temper results in the ability to make a young girl well again.  His siblings’ lives are cut short due to their ambition.  The soft palette used in the illustrations enhance the graceful story of the fifth pea.

One of my favorite pictures of ML is of her at age two; sitting on the porch swing with a roasting pan filled with purple hull crowder peas.  She’s learning to shell them just like I was taught by her great-grandmother many years ago.

Nursery Rhymes


Tonight while reading Detective Blue by Steve Metzger and illustrated by Tedd Arnold,  I realized I failed ML.  She didn’t get parts of the story because she didn’t know all the nursery rhymes references. I feared I missed my chance.  Once children reach a certain age, nursery rhymes are seen as babyish.  Luckily, children’s authors and illustrators are keeping them alive in children’s minds by expanding on rhymes or changing the rhymes’ words.

Cindy Moo by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Jeff Mack – Cindy Moo overhears the farmer’s daughter reading the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle.  She decides if the cow in the story can jump over the moon, she can too.  She tries and fails.  Then, tries and fails again.  But Cindy Moo doesn’t give up hope.  Even when the moon disappears completely.  After a very rainy evening, she is able to jump over the moon.  We love the various facial expressions on the cows throughout the book.

The Adventures of the The Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey -Another book playing on the “Hey Diddle, Diddle” rhyme.  This book is a love story highlighting the fun and not so fun times the dish and spoon experience after running away.  The illustrations suggest they fell off the white cliffs of Dover and floated all the way to the Statue of Liberty.  After robbing a bank, dish is broken and immediately deported.  Spoon serves jail time and is deported upon release.  They reconnect in a Junk Shop.  I’ve featured Mini Grey before.  ML loves her books  and I do too.  The hidden comedy for adults in her illustrations delights.

Monster Goose by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Jack E. Davis – ML calls these “Scary Nursery Rhymes.”  With titles like “Mary Had a Vampire Bat” and Little Miss Mummy” popular nursery rhymes words are changed.  The new rhymes follow the same rhythm of the original.  ML and the boy down the street like to pretend they are zombies.  So ML’s favorite rhyme was “There Was an Old Zombie.”  I like “Slithery, Dithery, Dock.”  The illustrations are not too scary, but scary-funny.  No nightmares after reading this book.

The Web Files by Margie Palatini and illustrated by Richard Egielski–  Thankfully, I didn’t fail ML completely.  She got all the nursery rhyme references in this book and loved the play on words like “The sheep said this is b-a-a-a-d!  Really b-a-a-a-d!” and “quack the case.”  You can’t help but laugh at all the nursery rhyme characters featured in the illustrations.  Our favorite part of the book… repeating Dum De Dum Dum.

As a child, I remember pouring over Mother Goose:  A Treasury of Best-Loved Rhymes edited by Watty Piper and illustrated by Tim and Greg Hildebrandt.  Last night I found it on my bookshelf and shared a few rhymes with ML.  Thankfully, she’s not opposed to an overdue education on nursery rhymes.  She thinks it’s cool to read a book I read as a child, published the year of my birth.



Egg Books Crack ML Up


Due to inclement weather, I worked at an alternate library location this week.  Only 1.6 miles from my house.  It’s usually an easy stroll.  But in the ice and snow there were more hills than I remember. Working at another location is always fun.  But today’s work day provided more than fun.  A recently retired library manager visited with a few dozen eggs fresh from “her girls.”    I jumped on the chance for fresh eggs.  I don’t know if I ever had some straight from the chicken.  My grandparents had farms but no chickens when I was a child.  Though I know at least one of them had a rooster when my Dad was a child.  One of my uncles threw a day old biscuit out the door.  It hit the rooster in the head and killed it.  At least, that’s the story the Meeks boys tell.

I didn’t have to walk home.  One of the staff drove me to the corner of my street. I wouldn’t let her drive down the hill. I knew it would be icy. About 50 feet from my driveway the street looked better. Umm… not true. Black ice is for real. I slid straight onto my hiney.  Luckily, my purse was back there to cushion the fall.  Miraculously, the eggs did not break.  Good thing!  Being covered in the eggs of my first chance for eggs straight from the nest… not sure how I would have reacted.  Tears, screaming, sobbing?

In celebration of fresh eggs… a few egg books ML loves.  Some are about cracked eggs.

The Cow That Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill and illustrated by Russell Ayto – ML loves this one and it’s a story time hit.  Marjorie the cow’s self-esteem is very low.  All the other cows can do amazing things… ride bicycles and do handstands.  The chickens take charge with a plan to increase Marjorie’s confidence.   A spotted egg appears underneath her while she sleeps.  This results in gossip, intrigue and one funny book.  There’s even a Welsh version, Y Fuwch Wnaeth Ddodwy Wy.

Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss – A post about eggs without mentioning Horton is unacceptable.  If you haven’t read this one, you’ve missed the classic egg book.

Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson with photographs by Ben Fink – ML loves this book for three reasons. 1.  Her grandmother’s name is Tillie.  2. On each page there is an egg to find.  3.  She likes looking at the pictures and pointing to each of the hens – Prudence, Edwina, Twinkydink, Buffy, Marge, Ginger and Tillie.  Of course, Tillie is her favorite. This is acclaimed photographer, Ben Fink’s, first children’s book.  His photographs for the Culinary Institute of America are amazing.  I hope we see more of his work in picture books.

And a few I checked out at my inclement weather location… I’ll read them to ML next week.

An Egg is Quiet written by Dianna Aston and illustrated by  Sylvia Long – An amazing author and illustrator work together in this quiet, understated book.  Its focus… eggs from a variety of species, not just birds.  Explore the  true to size eggs illustrated on the first two pages.  Then, turn to the back pages to view exquisite living creatures hatched from eggs… a lobster, an iguana, a fish, insects, a frog and a variety of birds.  ML will pour over this book again and again.  Expect a future post highlighting the other titles in their collaborative work.

Egg Drop by Mini Grey – ML doesn’t eat eggs.  I enjoy omelets.  What happens to an egg wanting to fly before it’s time?  In this story, it lands sunny-side-up.  A cautionary story about what happens when an egg is inpatient.

And our favorite “egg” book I posted about recently.  Fitting for this snowy weather.  When Blue Met Egg by Lyndsay Ward.