[book review] No Fair! No Fair! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood by Calvin Trillin and Roz Chast



Do you have a bossy older sibling? Wish you could eat ice cream for breakfast instead of oatmeal? Why ride the bus to school when a helicopter would be so much better?

Ah yes, life’s little injustices! If you can’t change them, may as well laugh about them.

In No Fair! No Fair! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood (Orchard Books, 2016), eminent New Yorker contributors Calvin Trillin and Roz Chast serve up big helpings of funny with their poems and pictures about various and sundry everyday things that can drive kids nuts. No matter our age, we’ve all been there. Ever have a wardrobe crisis in the morning?


Oh, this is such a silly rule —
That people must wear pants to school.
A better rule, a wise man said,
is wear your underpants instead.

This little morning complaint is just the beginning. There are complaints about school and for the evening, too. As the title states, no fair! no fair!

Many of the 23 rib-ticklers in this collection were inspired by real-life experiences from Trillin’s children, grandchildren, and his own childhood. Young readers will giggle in recognition at the ploys used to convince one’s parents to get a pet, the earnest desire to send back a new baby brother, and horror of all horrors — sitting next to a scoocher sister who won’t stay on her side of the backseat. Grrrrrr.

She’s over the line,
she’s over the line.
She occupies space
That’s rightfully mine.

Sound familiar? Hey, little things mean a lot.

If you’re a Roz Chast fan, you’re in for a real treat. Her zany full page spreads, spot illos and cartoon panels with their speech bubbly characters ramp up the humor with a good serving of her trademark bug eyes, toothy grins, and exaggerated expressions of bewilderment, frustration, indignation and first class snark.

What does the living room look like after Grandpa’s babysat for a day? Cover your eyes so you won’t have to see the melted ice cream, spilled soda and pizza slices on the carpet! One of my favorite illos goes with the poem “Taking a Bath,” showing a bottle of shampoo and rinse with earnest expressions on their faces saying, “We’ve been waiting for you!” What else would they say if the kid in question refuses to bathe?🙂

About his first children’s poetry collection, Trillin said:

My father, who had a restaurant in Kansas City for a while, used to put a rhyming couplet on the menu at lunch every day, mostly about pie. (His shortest was ‘Don’t sigh/Eat pie.’), so you might say that I’m a second generation poet, since I’ve published verse about the events of the day for twenty-five years. When I acquired enough grandchildren to describe myself as ‘a grandfather who writes on the side,’ it was inevitable that I’d turn my hand to writing verse for children—thus No Fair! No Fair!

Don’t you love that — a rhyming couplet on the menu every day? My kind of restaurant!🙂

Thought I’d share two poems that soundly rang my bell. You’ll see why (Matt Forrest Esenwine, do you like weird food?). Lick your chops and enjoy!



Matt loved the food most kids considered weird.
Weird food from this boy’s plate just disappeared.
He loved stuff that had French names or Italian.
He’d chew up raw a scallop or a scallion.
He gnawed on wings of pigeons and of quails.
He loved both bull-foot soup and gator tails.
He’d eat the sort of insides that you might
Prefer to keep inside and out of sight.
At times, he’d have for lunch some fried croquettes
Of things that other people keep for pets.
(He once had eaten turtle in a stew —
Though not, it’s true, a turtle that he knew.)
His tum, it seemed at times, was nearly bottomless.
His dad said, “Matt would eat a hippopotamus.”

The neighbors were amazed. They’d never seen
A sight like this — a boy who seemed so keen
On eating what could make a strong man cower.
They gathered round to see what he’d devour.
Dad beamed as Matt ate liver from a duck.
Matt’s little sister shivered, and said, “Yuck!”



Stuffed animals sleep in a pile in my bed.
How many do you think there might be?
How many stuffed animals piled in my bed
Would still leave enough room for me?

Just guess at the number of animal pals
I have as I drift off to sleep.
Yes, figure out how many teddies and such
Are piled upon me in a heap.

A hint: that big dog I was given last year,
The one with red eyes and blue hair,
Made twenty-two dogs that I had in my bed
(Though some people think he’s a bear).

Give up? You can’t guess what the answer could be?
Okay, here it is: I’ve got eighty
Stuffed-animal pals who all sleep in my bed.
My mom thinks the pile’s getting weighty.

She knows that at night, when I turn in my sleep
Some pals may get knocked to the floor.
So Mom said that I should get rid of a few.
And I said, “I really need more.”

For instance, I do have six moose and a pig.
I’ve got three white lambs plus their mother.
But one tiny panda is all that I’ve got.
One panda! I should have another.

The animal pals that are piled in my bed
Keep nighttime from being much scarier.
That’s why I need more. I’ve got plenty of room.
For me, it’s the more pals the merrier.


Hee. Apparently one of Mr Trillin’s grandchildren shares a bed with several dozen stuffed animals, and it was his grandson Natey who inspired the first poem about wearing underpants to school.

As you might have noticed, we have quite a few teddies living with us — far too many to share our bed, so they hang out all over the house. Though I’m not afraid of the dark like the girl in the poem, I agree that one can never have too many stuffed animal pals, just in case. They are very quiet, make the place much friendlier, and have a knack for winning staring contests. One of them is at this very moment wearing snazzy underpants.🙂

As for weird food, I’m glad somebody else is eating all that stuff so I don’t have to.😀

If you or any munchkins you know are feeling particularly put upon, these poems are just the ticket. I’m still wondering about that blue hyena in the zoo, though.


NO FAIR! NO FAIR! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood
written by Calvin Trillin
illustrated by Roz Chast
published by Orchard Books/Scholastic, September 2016
Children’s Poetry for ages 4-8, 40 pp.
*Includes Author’s Note and very cool endpapers🙂


poetry fridayEducator extraordinaire, poetry seven cohort, and cooking goddess Tricia Stohr-Hunt is hosting the Roundup at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Sashay on over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared in the blogosphere this week.

*Illustrations and text from No Fair! No Fair! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood written by Calvin Trillin, illustrated by Roz Chast. Illustration © 2016 by Roz Chast. Used with permission from Orchard Books/Scholastic.

Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

cornelius meets hillary: of cookies, chiles, and scrambled eggs



Some of you may know we love talking about Presidential Food here in the Alphabet Soup kitchen.

Whether it’s polishing off a bowl of JFK’s clam chowder, whipping up a batch of George Washington’s hoecakes, or wrapping our lips around Barack Obama’s homemade chili, learning about our leaders’ favorite foods makes them more human and accessible.

I like associating Ronald Reagan with jelly beans, George Bush with pork rinds, Jimmy Carter with peanuts. But what of the first female presidential nominee?

I guess Hillary Rodham Clinton can be summed up this way: she’s a hot pepper and a smart cookie.🙂

We were able to confirm this when she dropped by recently (Mr Cornelius is her secret debate coach). You probably remember the kerfuffle years ago when she famously declared, “I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.”

Despite all the backlash from stay-at-home moms, Hillary went on to win Family Circle Magazine’s First Lady’s Cookie Contest twice with her recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. It was because of Hillary they started the competition in the first place, and it’s been a fun tradition these last 24 years. This election season, the same recipe (on behalf of “First Gentleman Bill Clinton”) went up against Melania Trump’s Star Cookies and once again, it won.

Seems chocolate chip cookies were always a big personal favorite, and Hillary’s family used to compete to see who could make the biggest one. Besides a penchant for dark chocolate (chocolate covered almonds are a nice treat on the campaign trail), we also learned about Hillary’s hot pepper habit.

A jalapeno a day keeps the doctor away.

She does indeed carry a bottle of hot sauce in her bag (Ninja Squirrel sriracha is a current favorite), and eats a jalapeno pepper every day to boost her immune system. Aha! Now we know what fuels her fiery speeches!

Mr Cornelius is quite taken with her; he thinks potentially being the very first female President in our history is pretty darn amazing — and groundbreaking and incredible and fabulous and cool, and about time. Naturally he wanted to know more about what this powerhouse of a woman eats besides chile peppers (just in case he decides to run for office someday).

Chelsea and her daughter Charlotte.

In honor of Hillary’s visit, he and the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers baked a batch of Chelsea’s Chocolate Chip Cookies —  a recipe adapted by the late White House Executive Chef Walter Scheib. Mr C thought these would be a nice “good luck on November 8” offering, a nod to the future generations of girls and women who will benefit and no doubt be inspired by Hillary’s singular accomplishments.

Hillary flanked by presidential friends.

While munching on cookies and sipping milk, Hillary described how she hired Chef Scheib a year into President Clinton’s first term of office in 1994. Since they didn’t care for the traditional, highly caloric French cuisine prepared by Chef Chambrin, they wanted to find someone else who could showcase the best of contemporary American regional cuisine and prepare healthier, lowfat nutritional meals and restaurant-caliber dishes for state dinners and other special events.

Scheib, who was then executive chef at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, was selected from thousands of applicants. For his audition lunch he prepared Pecan-Crusted Lamb with Morel Sauce and Red-Curried Sweet Potatoes. Just so happens lamb is Hillary’s favorite meat and she loves spicy food — so Scheib’s meal was a big hit. Scheib “modernized and Americanized the White House food program,” creating meals that were both interesting and eclectic, reflecting the ethnic diversity of the country. Middle Eastern food (baba ganoush, tahini, hummus) was a particular Hillary favorite during her husband’s Presidency.

Bill and Hillary having breakfast at Chez Vachon, Manchester, New Hampshire (photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters).

These days, Hillary especially enjoys the zesty flavors of Mexico and India. Whenever possible, she likes to eat locally, whether it’s pork chop on a stick at the Iowa State Fair, a hot pepper, sausage and onion sandwich at Gianelli Sausage in Syracuse, or a friendly sandwich and cup of coffee at Lange’s Little Store, a favorite neighborhood hangout in Chappaqua. She’s not a strict vegan like Bill and will indulge in the occasional ice cream treat (nice way to cool off from all those chiles :D). Her other foodie vices include Dove Bars and goldfish crackers.

She definitely has a soft spot for ice cream.
Madam President: Chili Pepper Chocolate Ice Cream made with sugar and spice and women’s rights (via Ample Hills Creamery).
Madam President vs. Make America Orange Again (orange marshmallow ice cream with brownie bricks. Warning: may contain bluster and hot air, artificially colored) via Ample Hills Creamery.

Is there a food item that most recalls her back-home origins? Hillary cites the Oliveburger (renamed the HillaryBurger) from Pickwick, a Greek-American diner that was her high school hangout in Park Ridge, Illinois. It consists of 6 ounces of grilled ground beef sirloin on a toasted hamburger bun with a thick topping of chopped, pimento-stuffed green olives. Closed in December 2014, the Pickwick will apparently reopen sometime this Fall (no word on whether the HillaryBurger will be on the menu).

Turn up the heat with HC’s Oval Office Presidential Hot Sauce via Peppers of Key West

So, does Hillary ever cook? She admits to being a lousy cook, but she can turn out a decent plate of soft scrambled eggs. Scheib remarked that once when Chelsea was sick, Hillary requested the ingredients and cooking utensils so she could make the eggs herself in the private family kitchen on the second floor. Nothing like comfort food from your mother to make you feel better.

Getting back to Chelsea, Hillary also asked Scheib to teach her daughter how to cook so she would be able to cook for herself while she was attending Stanford. So, the summer before Chelsea left for college, Scheib taught Chelsea and a friend how to cook some basic vegetarian dishes, such as pea soup, buckwheat linguine with lentils, carrots and Swiss chard, and black bean enchiladas.

Mr Cornelius was fascinated by all these stories, and begged Hillary to share just one more tidbit. Well, she thought the 1997 G-8 Summit in Denver, Colorado, was the perfect occasion to spotlight regional American cuisine and traditions. Guests were given cowboy boots as presents, and Chef Scheib and his staff served buffalo, Rocky Mountain Oysters, cowboy roll-ups and rattlesnake meat hors d’oeuvres!

Walter Scheib tragically died in a flash flood while hiking in Taos, NM, in 2015. This pic was taken right after he made his audition lunch for the Clintons.

Given Hillary’s inclination for authentic, restaurant-quality, diverse regional cuisine, safe to say she’ll keep the White House chefs on their toes if when she gets elected.🙂

Here’s the recipe for Chelsea’s Chocolate Chip Cookies (the Clinton Family Oatmeal Chocolate Chip recipe can be found here). Unlike the Family Circle contest winner, this recipe calls for butter instead of vegetable shortening and cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. I’ve included Chef Scheib’s headnote for your reference.

Chelsea's Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: about 24 cookies
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print

Chelsea and her friends would make these cookies during their White House get-togethers and slumber parties, starting the year I got there, when she was fourteen. When I got the call from Chelsea (or the word from a butler) that she and her friends were in a cookie-making mood, I’d assemble the ingredients and hand-write the basic method, sending it all upstairs with a butler. This recipe is adapted from one from the legendary Fannie Farmer Cookbook, but I omitted the nuts and added more chocolate chips. The cookies are soft and chewy right out of the oven, then firm up a bit, but don’t turn brittle.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing cookie sheets
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two cookie sheets.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together, add to the mixture, and blend well, then stir in the chips.
  4. Place the dough in 2 tablespoon portions onto the cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between the cookies.
  5. Bake until lightly golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool briefly in the pans, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Credit: White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen by Walter Scheib and Andrew Friedman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007).


Everyone had such a good time, we hated to say goodbye. Mr Cornelius turned on the charm, and before we knew it, Hillary offered to make her famous soft scrambled eggs!

Oh, so fluffy and creamy!

One taste, and the resident chefs gave Hillary’s eggs an 8 paws up. They agreed that when it comes to eggs, Hillary knows how to step up to the plate.🙂

After a round of hugs and handshakes, Hillary boarded her plane for the next stop on the campaign trail. She left us all starry-eyed and hopeful for the future. She and Mr C are best buds and agreed on a new campaign slogan:

When the chocolate chips are down, bake more cookies!

Hillary’s cookie platform is a winner!

 ❤️Click here for more posts about Presidential Food.

Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free



“He’s a poet. Basically he’s a poet. He does not trust his voice. He doesn’t trust his guitar playing. He doesn’t think he’s good at anything, except writing—and even then he has self-doubts. Have you heard that thing he wrote about Woody Guthrie? That to me is the sum of his life’s work so far. Whatever happens, that is it. That sums it up.” ~ Eric Clapton on Bob Dylan

Glory Be! The man has gone and done it!

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature is such a crowning achievement for our favorite song and dance man. Bob turned 75 this year and is still breaking boundaries as the only singer-songwriter to have ever been awarded this coveted prize.

Aside from my inner fangirl whooping for joy and turning cartwheels at the sheer awesomeness of the whole thing, what I’m most happy about is that perhaps this distinction will inspire the average person to broaden his/her view of what constitutes “poetry.”

A rare smile!

Poetry doesn’t have to be esoteric, elitist, abstract or inaccessible. It doesn’t have to live in slim volumes with boring covers. It can be the well crafted lyrics of anthemic compositions that capture the heartbeat of personal and social history through time.

After all, poetry began as an oral tradition, much of it meant to be performed with music. To those who find Dylan undeserving, I would ask that they throw off their cloaks of intellectual snobbery and abandon preconceptions about conventional “Literature.”

Bob with his son Jesse.

“Literature” is not limited to printed novels, plays, or short stories. Talk to me about more than five decades of enormous cultural influence, words of searing truth, crackling inventiveness. Talk to me about enlarging the possibilities of American popular music.

Take the average Joe in a grocery store check-out line. Chances are he’s never read any of the Nobel Prize winning novels, but he’s heard a Dylan song or two.

A song is a poem for everyman.

I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.

Eight years ago, the very first time I hosted Poetry Friday, I asked participants to post their favorite Dylan lyrics. I shared the 8th of Dylan’s “11 Outlined Epigraphs.” He was 22 when he wrote this in 1963:

Yes, I am a thief of thoughts
not, I pray, a stealer of souls
I have built an’ rebuilt
upon what is waitin’
for the sand on the beaches
carves many castles
on what has been opened
before my time
a word, a tune, a story, a line
keys in the wind t’ unlock my mind
an’ t’ grant my closet thoughts backyard air
it is not of me t’ sit an’ ponder
wonderin’ an’ wastin’ time
thinkin’ of thoughts that haven’t been thunk
thinkin’ of dreams that haven’t been dreamt
an’ new ideas that haven’t been wrote
an’ new words t’ fit into rhyme
(if it rhymes, it rhymes
if it don’t, it don’t
if it comes, it comes
if it won’t, it won’t)

no I must react an’ spit fast
with weapons of words
wrapped in tunes
that’ve rolled through the simple years
teasin’ me t’ treat them right
t’ reshape them an’ restring them
t’ protect my own world
from the mouths of all those
who’d eat it
an’ hold it back from eatin’ its own food
hundreds thousands
perhaps millions
for all songs lead back t’ the sea
an’ at one time, there was
no singin’ tongue t’ imitate it)
t’ make new sounds out of old sounds
an’ new words out of old words
an’ not t’ worry about the new rules
for they ain’t been made yet
an’ t’ shout my singin’ mind
knowin’ that it is me an’ my kind
that will make those rules . . .
if the people of tomorrow
really need the rules of today
rally ’round all you prosecutin’ attorneys
the world is but a courtroom
but I know the defendants better ‘n you
and while you’re busy prosecutin’
we’re busy whistlin’
cleanin’ up the courthouse
sweepin’ sweepin’
listenin’ listenin’
winkin’ t’ one another
your spot is comin’ up soon


I’ve written about Dylan on this blog more than any other singer-songwriter. Here are three of my favorite posts:


Time to hear from the man.

Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964.



Official Music Video for “Things Have Changed,” which won the Academy Award in 2001. How many famous actors can you spot?




Celebrate Bob’s Nobel Prize this weekend by making his meatball recipe!



The Alphabet Soup Fiddlers were tickled pink to read so many wonderful comments about Miss Muffet, or What Came After. Nothing like a little poetical theatre to generate excitement and good will.

Thank goodness we were able to avoid yet another winner-picking fiasco. Happy to report we did not have to track down Monsieur Random Integer Generator half way around the world. He was right here, scarfing up the remains of the cottage cheese pie. I will mention that after eating said pie, he was able to play three violin concertos without a slip up. This is really saying something since he couldn’t play the violin before. For an encore, he plucked some pretty good bluegrass.

With music in his heart and cottage cheese between his teeth, M. Generator picked the following winner:

*drum roll, please*






CLAUDIA of Honey From Rock!!!

Congratulations, Claudia!

Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com, and we’ll get the book out to you pronto!

Thanks to everyone for entering the giveaway!


poetry fridayThe beautiful and talented Irene Latham is hosting the Roundup at Live Your Poem. Stroll over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared in the blogosphere this week!

Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

9 Cool Things on a Tuesday



1. You might think this PB&J sandwich is a photograph, but it’s actually an oil painting! This amazing piece of art was created by Mary Ellen Johnson of Hartsville, South Carolina.

“My work explores the deep connection that food has with humanity. I find the subtle and yet not so subtle power it possesses fascinating, The main focus of my work is to capture this deep connection. My paintings delve into the complicated and curious relationship that we have developed with food throughout our existence. Food has a direct link to our survival and has bound its roots deep within our cultures, societies, and families. It’s everywhere we go and it has worked itself into a pinnacle part of our everyday lives. It’s like a language really because we charge it with so many connotations and meanings. The smell can take you back to a time long ago, the sound of things like bacon frying in a pan can perk you up in the morning, and the sight alone can make your mouth start salivating. Food has great power over us and I’m interested in showing this power in my work. I want the viewer to be confronted by these lofty monstrosities of food and ponder their own relationship with the food that they eat.

Wow! Love her work. Absolutely stunning and calorie free. Feast on more at Mary Ellen’s Artodyssey blog and Facebook Page. One more for the road:


2. New book alert! Check out Monster Trucks by Anika Denise and Nate Wragg (HarperColllins, 2016) — just what you need for Halloween reading, right? Yep, I’m always looking out for you.🙂

Readers will delight in this lively read-aloud story with a clever and surprising twist at the end—perfect for Halloween and year round!

Ready, set, go! The monster truck race is on in this frightfully delightful picture book.  On a spooky speedway, Monster Trucks moan! Monster Trucks grumble! Monster Trucks groan!

Join Frankentruck, Zombie Truck, Ghost Truck, and more as they race to the finish line. But one of these trucks isn’t quite who you think.

Yes, there’s a trailer🙂.

This one’s already earned a **starred review** from Publishers Weekly. Read Anika’s blog post for some cool backstory about the book!


3. If you’re a Beatrix Potter fan, you already know her 150th Birthday is being celebrated this year with collector coins from the Royal Mint and special children’s books (I reviewed The Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig and The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots). Did you know about the Royal Mail special issue stamps and stamp sets?🙂

I simply couldn’t resist and ordered a set of postcards, a first day cover, and a BP Presentation Pack. You can order a first day cover personalized with your address (love the Near Sawrey postmark). I received my order in about a week and shipping was less than $3.00. So cute! More info at the Royal Mail Beatrix Potter Page.


4. Who’s my favorite Star Wars droid? BB-8 of course! Is there anyone rounder or more adorable? I think not. Was SO excited to see that ThinkGeek is now offering a BB-8 waffle maker! It makes waffles 5″ across by 6-3/4″ tall. When the fork awakens, there’s nothing like BB-Ate!!

Perfect holiday gift, no?🙂


5. Are your spatulas getting a little stained or grotty around the edges? Time for some new ones! Love these No Kid Hungry® Chef Series Celebrity Spatulas from Williams Sonoma. These have a BPA-free oversized silicone head that won’t crack, stain or absorb food odors and ergonomically shaped beechwood handles. Featuring original designs by the likes of Ayesha Curry (“The Talk”), Chrissy Teigen, Trisha Yearwood, and Giada de Laurentiis.

Ayesha Curry
Chrissy Teigen

A delicious way to help fight childhood hunger!


6. In the department of Blogs I Love to Read is “Illustrated Memory,” by children’s author/illustrator Aram Kim. You may remember my mentioning Aram before — she created a Cat’s Bakery blog banner for Alphabet Soup not too long ago, and she’s just published her first picture book, Cat on the Bus (Holiday House, 2016).

For Illustrated Memory, Aram writes about some of her favorite food memories and creates an illustration for each post. Aram currently lives in NYC, but she grew up in South Korea. Some of my favorite posts are about how she and her middle school classmates shared their “banchan” (Korean side dishes) at lunchtime, how she craved a comforting bowl of her mom’s chicken porridge when she had the flu, and some of the meals she and her sister had on trips (Istanbul, Tokyo).

“Lunch Boxes, Anyang, South Korea, 1995”
Chicken Porridge

There’s just something about her spare, unadorned, earnest prose that I find calming and reassuring.  Take a look and you’ll see what I mean.


7. Speaking of memories, treat yourself to a beautifully written personal essay by Northern Virginia author Frances Park. “Kiss-Kiss-Kissuni is about when Frances, age 7, visited the outskirts of Seoul with her family and was left in the care of her grandparents’ maid, Kissuni.

A poignant piece that will tug at your heartstrings:

To me, a mere girl of seven, my grandparents’ maid was a big-boned, strapping woman, always barefoot, always moving. Her feet were cracked clay, her face a rock. With mandatory bows, she led a back-breaking life of cooking, cleaning, ironing and, like it or not, looking after me that summer. If I was thirsty, she brought me cool barley tea. If I needed to use the toilet, she carried me piggyback up a steep path that led to a church. If I couldn’t find her, she was scrubbing dirty clothes in the river, chasing lepers from the front gate or taking a meal in the closet where she slept.

You may remember when I interviewed Frances and her sister Ginger, who’ve co-authored children’s books, a YA novel, and a memoir about their chocolate shop in Washington, D.C. Frances has also published two adult novels and is currently working on a collection of essays.


8. It’s always cause for celebration when Terry Border publishes a new picture book. I had the pleasure of interviewing Terry when his second children’s book, Happy Birthday, Cupcake came out last year, and I love Milk Goes to School (Philomel, 2016), which was just published this summer.

First days of school are tough, and making new friends is even tougher. Milk’s dad gave her a sparkly new backpack and told her that she was the creme de la creme, but most of the other kids don’t seem to agree. In fact, some of her new classmates think Milk is just a little bit spoiled. . . .

In this latest hilarious picture book from Terry Border, our food friends go to school and learn that it’s not just Milk that’s the creme de la creme. Some other food can be just as sweet.

Happy to report that once again, Terry included alphabet pasta in his story. Check out this fun interview with Mr. Pig and Milk at The Little Crooked Cottage.🙂


9. To top off your day, enjoy this time-lapse process video of Two Cupcakes by favorite food illustrator Kendyll Hillegas. Is there anything better than watching such deliciousness materialize before your very eyes?



Alrighty. Have a Happy Tuesday!

Don’t forget to smile and be kind.🙂

Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.