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April 27th, 2012

“The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, and this magazine, and the chair. And I don’t need one other thing, except my dog.” (dog growls at him.) “I don’t need my dog.” — Steve Martin in “The Jerk”

Thursday Recipe Club: Steve’s recipes for Masala and Dalchini Pulao

April 26th, 2012

River Birch

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

I’m writing these exactly how he scribbled them on little pieces of paper. Because little pieces of paper are hard to keep track of, but recipes on a blog are not. (Yeah, he cooks like a maniac, in addition to taking lovely photos. No, you can’t have him.)

— wm

1 part each cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili plus
2 parts garam masal
tomato salt

Dalchini Pulao
1 pound rice
4 teaspoons ghee
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of salt

Fry cumin and cinnamon for 1 minute; add turmeric and rice. Add H20; bring to boil; cook.

Wednesday Recipe Club: Sugar Cookies a la Mimi

April 25th, 2012

Apple blossoms in our yard! I (heart) spring.

Apple Blossom time

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

From my mother-in-law:

Mimi’s Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix dough. Chill before cutting out. Roll out dough 1/4″-1/2″ thick. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

Quick Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons butter
1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Add cream and mix to desired consistency.

Tuesday Book Review: “Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems,” “The Pirate Girl’s Treasure: An Origami Adventure” and “Bunnies, Crocodiles, And Me: Stories of Baby Beginnings”

April 24th, 2012

Hey. I started writing this book review several days ago, and it just is not going to write itself now, is it? Wait. I need another cup of coffee…

OK, I’m back. First up…

Presenting: “Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems,” by Jane Yolen, with photographs by Jason Stemple ($16.95, WordSong, 2012, 30 pages). Do you know Jane Yolen’s work? Yes, you do. She writes the “How Do Dinosaurs…” series (“How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms?” “How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?” etc.) and has published a whole bunch of other books, too. As far as I’m concerned, those guys making the big bucks in the NBA are nothing.

Jane Yolen is the rock star you should be worshipping.

She’s the author of “Owl Moon,” one of my favorite read-alouds when I do library work, and one of the best Young Adult books I’ve ever read about the Holocaust: “The Devil’s Arithmetic.” Jason Stemple? Yes, another unsung hero. His photos are spectacular and no, I am not using that word lightly. Go take a look. Visit their websites at Jane Yolen and Jason Stemple.

This is a fun poetry/science book wrapped into one. Twelve different bugs, plus a swarm, are profiled. Each gets a lovely poem, a cool photo, and a science fact box. My favorite is the honey bee. The poem begins like this:

“O Bee mine,
O blossom, please,
you are the best,
the true Bee’s knees.”


“The Pirate Girl’s Treasure: An Origami Adventure” was written by Peyton Leung and illustrated by Hilary Leung. ($16.95, Kids Can Press, 2012.) A pirate girl receives an unusual letter from her pirate grandpa and sets off on an adventure. What will happen along the way? This one is allegedly for the little kids, but my big kids had fun making the different origami designs illustrated in the back of the book. You can try your hand at making a hat, boat, or shirt, or all three. (The author was inspired by an origami model called “The Captain’s Shirt.)

“Bunnies, Crocodiles, and Me: Stories of Baby Beginnings,” is one of the sweetest, kookiest kid books I have ever come across. It was edited by Frederic Houssin and Cedric Ramadier, and is a compilation of works by nine different artists, including Peter Allen, Anne Brouillard and Katja Gehrmann. I do not know how this book came into my possession. I think it was in a box of goodies I was given when I was teaching.

Inside, you’ll find monsters giving birth to a new baby; bunnies upside down in a sonogram; and “A New Day,” by Bruno Gilbert:

“Sun is sleeping
in his starry bed.”

It’s art, it’s poetry, it’s quirky and I think your kids will like it. Keep an open mind, and happy reading!

(I received two of these books as review copies. See disclaimer here.)

reading this week: Atwood

April 9th, 2012

hellooooooooo, middle age! love ya! wm

April 7th, 2012


Saturday Book Review: “Animal Masquerade,” “The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea” and “Vote for Me!”

April 7th, 2012

“Animal Masquerade,” by Marianne Dubac ($16.96, Kids Can Press, 2011, unpaged) is a fun book. I like the disguises that all the animals are wearing. For example, the parrot is disguised as a turtle, and the turtle is disguised as Little Red Riding Hood. I think lots of kids would like this book. It’s for ages 7 and younger, but others might like it, too.

“The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea,” written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Willow Dawson ($15.95, Kids Can Press, 2012, 80 pages) looks like a good book for Earth Day, which is coming up on April 22nd.

“Vote for Me!”, by Ben Clanton ($16.95, Kids Can Press, 2012, unpaged) is a good one. Personally, I voted for the elephant, but you guys might choose something different.

— By Wacky Boy

art of the day

April 1st, 2012

Yellow 'shroom

(Photo by Steve Rawley)