As the weather grows warmer (well, okay, not today, but on the
whole, we're getting there...), my thoughts turn to summer. yes, I love
spring, but I dream of summer. The warm weather, the carefree feeling
in the air - and the fruit. And, of course, because I have a sweet
tooth, the fruit pies. Well who doesn't love pie? Since I'm not alone, there are some terrific picture books that pay tribute to the wonders of pie. You just might want to make sure you have some on hand if you are going to make these part of your reading, because you know they are going to want some...
Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson, ill. Tara Calahan King
This young boy has never had an enemy before, but now he does, and he doesn't know what to do. But his dad (who, oddly, looks a little like Richard Nixon...) does: you make enemy pie. Must be full of groos things, he decides, and offers some up, btu they aren't what his dad needs for the pie. As his dad mixes and bakes the pie, the kid tries to dream up the horrible stuff that must be in it, and is a little confused by the good smells wafting from the ktichen. (If it smelled bad, explains dad, your enemy wouldn't eat it. Sneaky!) So does it do bad things to your enemy instead? Dad keeps quiet, but tells him that the delivery is tricky - you have to spend a day with your enemy being nice to him. Of course, by the end of it, the two have become friends and the delicious pie is simply dessert. Funny and clever, I like this take on how to handle an enemy without ever teaching.
Sweet Dream Pie, by Audrey Wood, ill Mark Teague
A special pie is made on this street, but only now and then. When it seems time again, candies and all things sweet are baked into a massive mountain of gooey goodness, and everyone wants some. The smell is overwhelming, and all the neighbours partake, but when they overeat, things begin to get weird, and the dreams begin to get out of hand. By Wood, a master of silly, and Teague, whose illustrations are a marvel, this combination makes for some magic of its own in the form of a great book, though I think it works better for slightly older kids.
How To Make An Apple Pie and See The World, by Marjorie Priceman
If you want to make the perfect
pie, you need the finest of ingredients, right? So in true over-the-top
foodie style, you might want to travel the world to fetch the freshest,
most exotic spices, for a start... This is a fun story of an
around-the-globe trip,a sort of Amazing Race
for pie, even if it is ludicrous. because really, isn't ludicrous one
of the best ingredients for a kids' book? (See what I did there?
Ingredient? Heh?) If your child is curious about voyages, why not take
a fun one like this, and end on a note of dessert?
Pie in the Sky, by Lois Ehlert
This simple, wonderfully illustrated book is typical of Ehlert's, and reminds me quite a bit of her Growing Vegetable Soup.
In both, a father tells a child that they are growing a foodstuff, and
the child is then involved in the growing of the ingredients. They
emphasize not only where food comes from and the cycles of growth, but
also the patience required. As the tree goes through its growth cycle
and birds and raccoons eat from the cherry crop, excitement grows,
until it is time to pick cherries and make them into pie. The making of
the pie is part of the story, and could serve as instructions if you
wanted to try it out at home, as well. Cooking is, in fact, a great
activity to share with children, not only teaching them about the
reading and following of instructions, but also some rudimentary math
and science skills. In the end, though? Oh come on - cherry pie, people! Yum.
The Apple Pie Tree, by Zoe Hall, ill. Shari Halpern
This book is another one about the tree in the backyard, this time
an apple tree. This book is also aimed at young children, with lovely
but simple collage illustrations, however this book does a pretty good
job of walking quickly through the seasons and cycles of the tree and
the robins it houses. In the end, though, apples are harvested and
added to apple pie. A recipe at the end adds a nice element for
extending the story if you are inclined towards baking with your child,
and is joined by a bit of information on bees and pollination. The
focus here is less on the pie, but the book is a great one for sharing
with a child where fruit comes from. (Life cycles are also a
kindergarten curriculum element, so it's a good way to bring some of