THE UNITED STATES COOKBOOK

FABULOUS FOODS AND FASCINATING FACTS FROM ALL 50 STATES

This earnest amalgam of cookbook and geography lesson has some charm, but mostly falls flat. Beginning with a brief rundown of skills and safety rules about measuring, mixing, cutting, and using kitchen appliances, the authors then turn to the United States by region (New England, Southwest, Pacific, etc.). Each state gets an outline map, a box of info about its state tree, flower, etc. a few paragraphs of history, and an indication of some of its food products. This is followed by a regional recipe, nicely laid out with ingredients, steps, the time it takes, and the tools needed. Each state’s section ends with “Fun Food Facts” and a note about a local food festival. The research is sometimes frustrating (in what African language is “goober” a word for peanut?) and some terms that should be explained aren’t (what’s shortening?). There’s a heavy reliance on prepackaged, canned, and frozen ingredients in the recipes. Margarine and oil pan spray are used throughout, which might allay some health concerns but will surely offend some purists, too. There isn’t much description to carry youngsters through the tricky parts, like yeast dough; or warnings about, for example, adding melted margarine to egg yolk and what might happen if the margarine is too hot. Budding young chefs will be better served by other readily available regional cookbooks. (Nonfiction. 914)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-471-35839-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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