Books by Robbin Gourley

A HOUSE IN THE SKY by Steve Jenkins
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 8, 2018

"A pretty, introductory survey. (Informational picture book. 4-9)"
Twenty animals and their sometimes-unusual ways of sheltering themselves are presented in full-color watercolor illustrations. Read full book review >
TALKIN' GUITAR by Robbin Gourley
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 10, 2015

"Aspects of visual discontinuity detract from this otherwise sensitive treatment of a celebrated guitarist's early inspirations. (biographical note, bibliography, list of websites) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)"
This affectionate portrait of guitar great Arthel "Doc" Watson focuses on his formative musical influences during his Appalachian childhood. Read full book review >
FOREST HAS A SONG by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 26, 2013

"Readers, too, may want to return to these explorations over and over. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)"
Twenty-six poems with varied structures offer quiet observations of the natural world. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 19, 2009

"Time to get up!" says little Edna Lewis one early-spring morning, "I hear the whippoorwill. That means it's gathering time." So begins this celebration of one family's year of harvesting local foods, all lovingly described in a homespun present tense. In springtime, greens and sassafras root; ripening cherries, wild blackberries and peaches (and much more) follow in summer. When school begins, there are apples—for apple butter, cider, applesauce, crisp and pies! Edna's childhood was preparation for her career as an accomplished chef and author of four cookbooks. Truly ahead of her time, she believed in preparing food that came directly from the fields, fresh and delicious. Interspersed throughout the text are folk sayings and African-American rhymes. Gourley's sunny, bright watercolors depict the family gathering food and enjoying it at table and in the fresh air. An author's note describes Lewis's career and includes a bibliography of her cookbooks followed by five recipes. A mouthwatering morsel that should come with the warning to eat before reading! (Picture book. 6-9)Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

Gourley (a graphic designer at Workman Publishing) does her mentor, Grandmother Mattie, proud in this precious jewel of a cookbook. She walks the reader through each step of these show-stoppers with helpful hints about everything from separating eggs (separate while cold, then bring to room temperature) to licking the bowl (not a good idea if the batter contains raw eggs). Even baking novices will discover that cake-making has nothing to do with alchemy—it's about accurate technique, presented so simply here even for complicated delectables like the infamous Rocky Mountain Fruitcake, which packs a sugar punch with a dried-fruit- and-brown-sugar frosting, or the sophisticated, three-tiered Lady Baltimore, which combines cake, rum-soaked-currant filling, and frosting topped with candied cherries. These are southern recipes, so sometimes subheads, which for the most part offer accurate descriptions (the pineapple Rise and Shine Cake is a ``zingy mixture of fruit and nuts'' and the Bàte Noire is ``wantonly rich''), can also be misleading for those accustomed to less heavy fare: the Hummingbird Cake, described as ``delicate,'' actually satiates after a few bites with its weighty combination of pecans, bananas, and cream cheese. To her credit, she complements these sugar-laden basics of Confederate fare with refreshingly light tea cakes. Gourley's own watercolors appear on every spread, along with personal anecdotes about activities like fall picnics and berry-picking. The beauty of this slim book just might justify paying $15 for only 25 recipes. A sure cure for baking phobia. Read full book review >