London Public Library’s books2eat3 — delicious fun!

Posted on April 21, 2010. Filed under: Events | Tags: , |

I attended London Public Library’s 3rd annual Books2Eat event on the 3rd floor of Central Branch the evening of Friday, April 9.  If it was possible to improve on last year’s event, they did it. Local restaurants and bakeries proudly displayed their book-themed creations. The level of creativity and effort put into some of these masterpieces made it difficult for us attendees to cast our votes for Best Sweet entry and Best Savoury entry. How to choose?

Having gone to great lengths to make elaborate gingerbread houses at Christmas time when my boys were young, I could only stand in awe of Covent Garden Market’s Hansel and Gretel-themed gingerbread house.

Braise Food and Wine presented a marvelously whimsical dragon cake depicting Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess

Perhaps influenced by my fondness for Robert McCloskey picture books, my favourite was Idlewyld Inn’s Blueberries for Sal entry, with adorable mini sand pails in pastel pink or blue filled with wild blueberries and lemon cream. Yum.  I loved that the book (a signed copy, no less) was on display.

Blueberries for Sal

After everyone had had a chance to submit their ballot, it was time to eat the entries! With good-natured resignation, the creators carved up their masterpieces.

The winning Sweet entry -- Melrose Bakery

The event is a fundraiser, and two LPL volunteers spoke about their involvement with library literacy projects: Ken Wilmot, a member of London West Rotary Club; and James McBride, a Thus Spake Zarathrusta-quoting young man.  I wish I could remember the quote — perhaps I’ll have to read the book!

Look for Books2Eat4 next April!


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Make Way for Ducklings

Posted on October 30, 2009. Filed under: Recommended Reading | Tags: , , , , |

As a child, I enjoyed the picture books of Robert McCloskey. I was entranced by the small island in the middle of the pond in Boston Public Garden that became home to the family of ducks in Make Way for Ducklings.cover of Make Way for Ducklings

While in Boston in August, we made the pilgrimage to the Public Garden.

statue of family of ducks in Boston Public Garden

Statue in Boston Public Garden

The weather was miserable, and the park was deserted. I was able to take this photo of Nancy Schon’s bronze statues of the mother duck and her ducklings.

Good thing, because two days later, back in the park in the bright sunshine, the statues were being mauled by affectionate toddlers.  While on a de rigueur Swan Boat ride, we were able to get close enough to the little island to see the numerous mallard ducks who now call the island home.

Boston Public Garden

Island Home

When I ask my peers whether they are familiar with McCloskey’s books, I’m surprised at how few are.

Blueberries for Sal conjured memories of berry-picking by the side of the road at the cottage and seeing the indentations in the long grass where, according to our neighbour, the bear had rested after eating her fill (and I remember the trepidation I felt at venturing beyond the safety of the roadside).cover of Blueberries for Sal

Mr. Condon’s garage in One Morning in Maine was reminiscent of Sid Edwards’ garage at Restoule, where we’d head when the outboard motor spark plugs failed (as happened in McCloskey’s story) or the car muffler had fallen off in the washboard cottage roads.

OCL purchased a number of reprint copies of McCloskey titles to replace the ancient dog-eared ones, but circulation of the items remains low. Perhaps the lack of colour and the nostalgic tone doesn’t appeal readily to young readers today, or their parents. Writing in the early years of children’s publishing, McCloskey was faced with publishers who wouldn’t assume the risk of added costs for full-colour printing, so he illustrated his early stories in sepia, and later black, line drawings.

Might I suggest giving McCloskey’s works a try?


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