Ciao a tutti! Hello Everyone!
Today we’re happy to be celebrating the official release of Spaghetti Smiles by Margo Sorenson and David Harrington (Pelican Publishing Co., 2014).
This playful, lip-smacking story has been cooked up with just the right ingredients: a book lovin’ boy, a crazy-fun uncle, lots of savory, tomato-y, kiss-your-fingertips Italian food, the joys of reading with family, and the importance of a close-knit community.
But more about the book in a minute.
First, a few party accoutrements. :)
Please put on this spiffy pizza hat:
and these oven-warmed pizza socks:
Now, if you’re not into socks and like to walk on the wild side, slip your footsies into these spaghetti stilettos (bite me!):
Finally, to keep things neat, Mr. Cornelius would like you to wear this wee bib:
Please keep yourself thusly attired for the duration of this post. If you like, nosh on mini pizza while you’re reading. :)
Lookin’ good, bambini! Party on!
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🍕 UN LIBRO DAVERRO BELLO 🍕
A Very Good Book
There’s nothing young Jake loves more than to pop over after school to his Uncle Rocco’s Italian Restaurant to read stories together, chow down on delicious food, and play crazy food games like spaghetti pick-up-sticks, bowling with mozzarella balls, and juggling ravioli.
But one day Uncle Rocco tells Jake they may not be able to read together anymore. The business next door has moved, and if a new tenant isn’t found soon, Rocco will have to close his restaurant.
Jake volunteers to help Uncle Rocco find a new neighbor for his “crazy, mixed-up restaurant.” He stops in at the bank, post office, and gas station, hoping one of the owners would be willing to relocate.
But though Ms. Cash, Mr. Stamply, and Mr. Pumper all love eating and playing at Rocco’s (“his spaghetti is still the greatest!”), they’re afraid the craziness might interfere with business as usual (“rows of pizzas baking in the bank vault,” “pepperoncini on envelopes instead of stamps,” “gas pumps would pump tomato sauce instead of gas”).
Jake thinks it’s hopeless until he spies a new bookstore. Can he convince fun-loving Mrs. Page to move her store to the middle of town, right next to Uncle Rocco’s?
Hungry readers will likely crave their favorite Italian dishes after seeing David Harrington’s bold and vivid illustrations of pizza faces, drippy tomato sauce, airborne ravioli and slurpy spaghetti. The cartoony caricatures of the townspeople with their flabbergasted expressions ramp up the humor and will elicit gastronomically induced giggles with every page turn (I wonder where Mrs. Page gets her hair done). :D
Kids will wish they had an uncle like Rocco, who loves food, playing and reading stories just as much as they do. And it would be fun to live in Jake’s neighborhood, where people are approachable and friendly, and whenever you like, you can bowl with mozzarella balls or anticipate piles of pasta on bookstore shelves. Don’t miss this tasty read. Fantastico!
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🍅 MANGIA MANGIA MANGIA 🍅
Margo Sorensen especially enjoyed writing Spaghetti Smiles, not only because she’s a big fan of Italian food, but because she lived in Southern Italy between the ages of 3 and 7.
In addition to a favorite family recipe, she also sent along some interesting personal photos. I especially like the pic of Margo holding a book she received for her 6th birthday. Do you think she dreamed of becoming an award winning writer and educator back then? :)
Margo (age 5) driving a little car in the port of Bari
Schoolroom in Rome, Italy (2004)
Margo’s favorite plate from Positano
Margo’s cooktop with the Bialetti “Little Man” Moka Espresso
Margo (age 6 ) holding her birthday book
Margo’s favorite villa view in Tuscany (2004)
Italian Farmer’s Market in Alba
Cheese lovers, rejoice! Wouldn’t a plate of Margo’s pasta with Fontina, Asiago, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino Romano taste good right about now? Buon Appetito!
PENNETTE AI QUATTRO FORMAGGI
(serves 3 or 4)
- 3/4 cup Fontina cheese, shredded
- 3/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated plus more for adding at end
- 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (or 1/2 cup Ricotta Salata, grated)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream plus more if needed for creamy consistency
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Pennette 8 ounces
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
Pour heavy cream into a large pan over medium heat. Add butter. Add cheeses and simmer until they are melted, about five minutes. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Sprinkle some coarse salt when it boils and add pasta to boiling water. Cook for 10-12 minutes or till al dente. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to pan and mix well. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with parsley and black pepper. Sprinkle freshly-grated Parmigiano on top.
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Now, please join me in congratulating Margo and David on their deliciously playful book. Feel free to slurp loudly in your best Italian accents, or if you like, dive directly into the bowl for a few backstrokes. Keep your bibs about you, but mind you don’t eat your spaghetti stilettos.
Today’s Special: Felice Pastina Alfabeto (liberally seasoned with love, joy and laughter)
Did you think I’d forget dessert? Spaghetti and Meatballs Cupcakes for everyone!
After you’re thoroughly sugared up, sashay on down to your local indie or click through to your fave online bookseller to score your very own copy of Spaghetti Smiles.
If you go to a bricks-and-mortar store, I think it best to wear something red, white and green, and if it’s warm where you live, a top with spaghetti straps would be totally de rigueur. Do I even have to tell you to wear a bushy mustache like Uncle Rocco’s?
Singing a few bars of “O Sole Mio” in the checkout line or talking the book up to other customers while wildly waving your hands is good too. If you’re hoping for a discount, mention the secret password “Ravishing Ravioli” to the cashier. :)
HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, MARGO AND DAVID!
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written by Margo Sorenson
illustrated by David Harrington
published by Pelican Publishing Company, 2014
Picture Book for ages 5-8, 32 pp.
Cool themes: cooking, food, restaurants, relatives, books and reading, learning, humor, town life.
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🎉 ENCORE 🎉
♥ More Soup of the Day posts here.
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CODA: Bowling with Cherry Tomatoes
Hmmmm, what to do with these?
Tomato bowling balls!
Okay, lined up the pins.
There she goes!
Strike! Another game for Jake and Uncle Rocco! :)
Ciao a tutti! Mille Grazie! :)
* From Spaghetti Smiles by Margo Sorenson, illustrated by David Harrington, text © 2014 Margo Sorenson, images © 2014 David Harrington, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.
**Giovanni Baby Bib “Mangia” via Italian Children’s Market
**Pizza Socks via Foot Traffic
**Pizza Hat via Costumes of Nashua
**Spaghetti Shoe Sculpture by Robert Tabor (Sole Sensations)
Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.