Little Owl and I want to share with you something special that illustrator Lison Chaperon created to go with our book LOVE IS KIND – a muffin recipe with adorable muffin toppers! In addition to being absolutely delicious, this LOVE IS KIND-inspired baking activity has gotten me thinking about how wonderful it is when we pair picture books with a tasty book-themed treat.
In doing so, not only are we giving our kids the opportunity to learn some baking/cooking skills, we are helping them to connect to the story in a new and fun way. As we nibble and chat about the book, we’re also instilling in them a framework to talk about the stories we read and an opportunity to think about how picture books relate to our lives and the world. Finally, we’re fostering good critical thinking skills as we converse with our little ones about what treat would be best paired with a particular picture book.
With all this in mind, here are FIVE TIPS for PAIRING PICTURE BOOKS with TASTY TREATS. Enjoy!
TIP #1: Pick any picture book. (Better yet, let your child pick the book.)
TIP #2: Pre-read the story so you can gather your ingredients. Once you’ve selected your picture book, take a few minutes a day or two ahead of time so that you can anticipate what types of treats you and your child might want to create to pair with the story. This way you can be sure to have the ingredients in stock for a seamless and tasty brainstorming to baking to eating experience.
TIP #3 As you read with your child, ponder the treat-making possibilities.It’s most beneficial (and engaging) to your budding critical thinkers if you include them in the process of deciding what book-themed treat to create, though it’s perfectly acceptable, in my opinion, to gently lead them towards the ingredients you have on hand (see step two). As you are pondering, the treat might be obvious. For example, in my third book DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE, Fernando the mouse loves gumdrops, popcorn, and cheese on try toast, so those would be obvious picks.
TIP #4: Sometimes you will have to be creative! Some picture books, however, won’t have such obvious choices. My recommendation, in these instances, is to pick a character or a defining element of the story and create a treat inspired by that. For example, on her blog, Easy Elegant Entertaining™, trained chef and cookbook author (and mom to an adorable young budding reader) used the concept of tails in GOODNIGHT, ARK to create an adorable book-themed treat.
You can also create character-based cookies for almost any book, as my daughter did for DIVA DELORES and GOODNIGHT, ARK.
TIP #5: Have fun! (Need I say more?)
And if you are interested in the link to the LOVE IS KIND muffin recipe with adorable muffin toppers, here it is.
A version of this post previously appeared on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog with a lovely review. You can review that here, if interested.
Did you know that LOVE IS KIND celebrates the precious bond between little ones and their grandparents? Indeed, it’s Little Owl’s love for his grammy that sets the story in motion… and it’s Grammy’s love for him that brings the story to a cozy resolution.
Here’s a sweet glimpse of that bond in a special clip illustrator Lison Chaperon made to celebrate LOVE IS KIND:
And now, in celebration of Grandparents Day, I’m excited to share that LOVE IS KIND is featured over at Celebrate Picture Books today with a thoughtful review, a baking activity (see picture above) and a giveaway of the new board book edition! So grab a cup of coffee, or tea, as I prefer, and head on over. I’ll make it easy for you. Press here.
Today, in celebration of the release of her debut board book CHRISTMAS COOKIE DAY (Zonderkidz, 2018) I am delighted to be interviewing author Tara Knudson. This adorable cookie-themed book will have you in the spirit of the holidays in no time! Thank you so much for joining us, Tara. Let’s get started.
First off, congratulations! CHRISTMAS COOKIE DAY has been out for just over six weeks. How has the launch been?
Thank, you Laura. I’m so happy to be featured on your blog! I can’t believe that CHRISTMAS COOKIE DAY has been out for six weeks already. The launch has been exciting! I have loved reading my first book to young children and seeing their joy when I turn the pages. What a special experience!
As the countdown to Christmas begins, I am busy scheduling readings of CHRISTMAS COOKIE DAY at schools, libraries, bookstores, and holiday events. It’s such a festive and magical time, and I’m so happy my book can be part of it all.
I have to agree that there is something extra special about having holiday-themed book during this festive season. It sounds like you are enjoying every moment of it.
Have you always been a writer/rhymer? Tell us a little bit about your writerly journey.
It has been a long journey! My Creative Writing folder from second grade is one of my prized possessions. Reading my first stories makes me laugh. Growing up, they were always special to me, but I did not know yet that I wanted to be a writer.
I started writing poetry when I was in high school. As I dealt with the problems and frustrations that adolescence can bring, I often wrote poems to express my feelings.
After college, I became a Spanish teacher and I often used children’s picture books in the classroom. I would spend hours at bookstores searching for favorite ones. It was during that time that I fell in love with picture books and decided that I wanted to write them.
In pursuit of my goal, I won a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship that allowed me to take a break from teaching and live in Barcelona, Spain for a year and experiment with writing for children. I wrote many poems and rhyming stories for children. I continued to write after my return to the U.S. As years passed, I sold articles and poems to children’s magazines and continued to work on my picture book manuscripts as I took care of my two sons. Then, I signed with an agent who helped me sell my first book.
Such a long journey, but your passion for writing and persistence shine through.
What inspired you to write CHRISTMAS COOKIE DAY?
When my youngest son was in preschool, one of the kids in his class had an egg allergy. I baked egg-free sugar cookies that all the children could enjoy and used cookie cutters to make festive shapes to celebrate different holidays throughout the year. One day, when I was on a walk, the story came out in my head. I rushed home and typed the first draft on the computer. I had a good feeling about it!
While the recipe that is included with the book is not egg-free, I hope people with allergies can tailor the recipe to meet their needs.
That’s how ideas come to me too. That’s why I always try to have my phone or a small notebook handy. I’m glad you rushed home and wrote it down!
The illustrations really add to the cozy cookie baking feel of your rhyming text. Tell us a little bit about the artist. Do you have a favorite spread? What makes it your favorite?
The illustrations really are cozy! Pauline Siewert created them. She lives in England and she has illustrated many children’s books. She does beautiful work!
My favorite spread is the one where the bears are mixing the dough and using the cookie cutters. They are sweet scenes of a mother baking with her child. I love the flour on the bear’s face and also the mouse on the cookie cutter. I did not notice the mouse until after I read the book a couple of times. When I read to children, I tell them to look and see what the mouse is doing in the story. He tells a story of his own and he is very funny. Everyone enjoys him!
Finally, what’s next? Are there more picture books and projects in the pipeline? Also, where can interested readers find your books?
My next children’s book, EASTER EGG DAY, will be published by Zonderkidz in February, 2020. I’m very excited! Once the holidays are over, I plan to finish other writing projects that I have started.
Interested readers can buy CHRISTMAS COOKIE DAY at independent booksellers as well as online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, Zondervan, and others. Whether they read the book in a library or purchase a copy of their own, I hope CHRISTMAS COOKIE DAY inspires readers to make cookies or bake together this season and build beautiful family traditions.
How exciting that you have another book in the pipeline… and I hope many more beyond that! Thanks so much for stopping by today. And now, just for fun, please comment with the name of your favorite holiday cookie. =)
Tara Knudson is a former teacher who has been writing poetry and stories since she was a young girl growing up in Chicago. Her published work can be found in children’s magazines, greeting cards, calendars, and a poetry anthology for teens. Christmas Cookie Day is Tara’s first picture book.
It’s always fun when you discover that someone you’ve never even met has seen your book and thought enough of it to create a special activity based on the book. That’s exactly what happened last spring when I discovered that on her blog, Easy Elegant Entertaining™, Addie Gundry, trained chef and cookbook author, used the concept of tails in GOODNIGHT, ARK to create an adorable book-themed treat. Click here for her wonderful edible activity. And thank you, Addie, for letting me share the adorable picture above.
Now to springboard off of her creativity, I’d like to add some suggestions for thoughtful questions you might ask as you are making these delightful tails inspired by GOODNIGHT, ARK!
GOODNIGHT, ARK Tail-Themed Questions
Do all of the creatures in GOODNIGHT, ARK have tails? Which do not?
Which is your favorite tail? Why?
How many tails can you count? (On any given page.)
Why do you think animals have tails?
If you had a tail, what would it look like? (Draw it , or make one using Addie’s ingredients!)
Happy reading, conversing about, creating, and then eating these adorable tails! And thank you, Addie, for creating this delightful (and tasty) extension activity!
P.S. Addie Gundry has also created adorable (and I mean ADORABLE) treats to go with GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU. Press here for her adorable Bunny Tails.
TEACHERS AND PARENTS: This post is a treasure that should be book-marked. It contains a wonderful activity kit offered by Zonderkidz and created by my illustrator Lison Chaperon. The not-to-be-missed kit has an assortment of LOVE IS KIND-themed printables – including coloring pages, an adorable Little Owl mask craft and a post card activity!
Today Susanna Leonard Hill is featuring LOVE IS KIND as part of her Perfect Picture Book Friday series! Head on over there to find out her review. And, inspired by Lison Chaperon’s delicious LOVE IS KIND muffin baking activity, I’m also sharing my thoughts on the benefits of pairing picture books with a tasty treat with FIVE TIPS for doing that! (Oh, and there’s also a giveaway!) So grab that cup of tea and one of those delicious virtual muffins picture above head on over. HAPPY FRIDAY, all!
HAPPY FALL from LITTLE OWL and his friends! And a special thank you to illustrator, Lison Chaperon, for creating this adorable picture of Little Owl, Beaver, Rabbit, and Mrs. Mouse’s little mice ALL enjoying an autumn tea party!
And now, I’m delighted to share that you and your little ones can join in the fun by baking your own special LOVE IS KIND muffins and having your own tea party, complete with book-themed muffin toppers.
The recipe for Little Owl’s Chestnut Applesauce Chocolate Muffins was a collaborative effort between author and illustrator. I followed her recipe, but had to adapt for American ingredients and American measuring units. I baked six batches before I got it just right! The recipe calls for chestnut flour, which is delicious, but may be difficult to find. I got mine (and it was top-notch) at Nuts.com. But, if you have nut allergies or just prefer to bake without it, the recipe is equally delicious if you simply omit the chestnut flour and increase the whole wheat flour to one cup.
Click here to download high quality at scale version for better printing. (Thank you, Lison, for providing!)
ENJOY! And if you want to share snapshots on social media of you and your littles enjoying the book and this treat, we’d love that! Simply use the hashtag #littleowlsteaparty. Happy baking!