Advertisement. Click on the ad for more information.
Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Valentine’s Day

Worm Loves Worm

Worm Loves Wormfinally had a chance to read one of my new favorite picture books—Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato—to a group of kids. It was Valentine’s Day—the kids were making valentines, learning origami, and listening to love stories read by moi.

My mistake was trying to call them away from the origami and stickers and scraps by saying: Hey kids! Let’s read some love stories!

A couple of them looked up and made a face, but most ignored me. The adults came to my aid and tried to get everyone to circle up, but the assurances that everyone could go back to their crafting did little to persuade. They’re readers, but they’re also crafters. Unfair to make them choose, but I did. I announced grandly, “The first book is about worms….”

That got their attention.

“Worms?” they said.

“I thought you said you were reading love stories,” said one child (who will be a lawyer some day.)

“Yes,” I said. “This is a love story. About worms.”

A few left their scraps and stickers and came over to see. I started the story.

Worm loves Worm.

“Let’s be married,” says Worm to Worm.

“Yes!” answers Worm.

“Let’s be married.” 

“I didn’t know worms could get married!” said one child. More joined our circle.

I turned the page. Worm and Worm’s friend Cricket volunteers to marry them, because you have to have someone to marry you—“that’s how it’s always been done.”  

That’s How It’s Always Been Done is a major refrain in this book.

“Now can we be married?” asks Worm.

But no, not yet. Beetle insists on a best beetle, and volunteers himself for the role. The Bees insist on being bride’s bees. And then there are the rings to consider—because, of course, “that’s how it’s always been done.”

It goes on and on—the usual trapping of a wedding, the ways “it’s always been done”—are trotted out as hurdles, if not quite objections. Patiently the worms adapt. Their friends see how things can be different. They’ll wear the rings like belts, not having fingers. They’ll do The Worm at the dance, not having feet to dance with. Their friend Spider will attach the hat and flowers with sticky web and eat the cake “along with Cricket and Beetle,” since worms do not eat cake.

Now, the adults in the room understood the story as a clever way to turn the same-gender vs. different-gender marriage debate upside down. They were delighted. These are parents who have raised their kids to support marriage for all—indeed, some of the kids in my audience are being raised in a family with two moms/dads.

The kids understood the more subtle message behind the story, though. It’s about change. It’s about learning to see past How It’s Always Been Done. They didn’t even blink when one worm wore a veil and tux and the other wore a dress and top hat. This is how kids play dress up, after all. Details do not stymie children the way they do adults.

Worm Loves Worm0797

The ending to this book is happy. When Cricket objects that “That isn’t how it’s always been done.” Worm says, “Then we’ll just change how it’s done.” The other worm said, “Yes.”

And the children said, “Yes.” And then they went back to their Valentines.

Read more...

Books about Chocolate

February is National Chocolate Month, so how could we let it pass by without an homage to chocolate … in books? Far less costly on the dental bill! “In 2009, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate were purchased and (likely) consumed in the days surrounding February 14th — that’s about $345 million worth. (Kiri Tannenbaum, “8 Facts About Chocolate,” Delish) Were you a part of the national statistic? Here are a list of 12 books about chocolate to feed your craving.

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake  

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake 
written by Michael Kaplan
illustrated by Stephane Jorisch 
Dial Books, 2011

Betty Bunny wants chocolate cake. Her mother wants her to learn patience. Betty Bunny would rather have chocolate cake. This is a funny, droll book about a spunky girl for whom waiting is a challenge. The illustrations are filled with humor, too.

Candy Bomber

 

Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot”
written by Michael O. Tunnell
Charlesbridge, 2010

When the Russians maintained a blockade around West Berlin after World War II, US Air Force Lieutenant Gail S. Halvorsen arranged to have chocolate and gum dropped over the city by handkerchief parachutes.  Russia wanted to starve the people of West Berlin into accepting Communist rule, but the Air Force continued its sanctioned delivery of food and goods for two years. Halvorsen would drop the candy for the kids of West Berlin with a wiggle of his plane’s wings so they’d know it was him. A true story with a lot of primary documentation.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
written by Roald Dahl
illustrated by Quentin Blake
Knopf, 1964

Inspired by his schoolboy experiences of chocolate makers sending test packages to the kids in exchange for their opinions alongside tours of the chocolate factories with their elaborate machinery, Roald Dahl created what might be the most famous book about candy, and chocolate in particular, in the world. As children vie for a golden ticket to enter the chocolate factory, Charlie Bucket finds the fifth ticket. Living in poverty, it’s quite a sight for him, especially when the other four winners are ejected ignominiously from the factory, leaving Charlie to inherit from Willy Wonka. This book celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2015.

Chock Full of Chocolate  

Chock Full of Chocolate
written by Elizabeth MacLeod
illustrated by Jane Bradford
Kids Can Press, 2005

A great way to talk about math and process and writing instructions, cookbooks are appealing to those kids who can’t get enough of the Food Network. This book has 45 recipes featuring chocolate with easy-to-understand instructions for dishes such as S’more Gorp, Dirt Dessert, and Candy-Covered Pizza.

Chocolate Fever  

Chocolate Fever
written by Robert Kimmel Smith
illustrated by Gioia Fiammenghi
Coward McCann, 1972

Henry Green loves chocolate. He eats chocolate all the time in every form and shape. He’s so enamored of chocolate that he contracts Chocolate Fever. Henry runs away from the doctor and straight into a zany adventure filled with humor and action. A good read-aloud.

Chocolate  

Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets
of the World’s Favorite Treat
 

written by Kay Frydenborg
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015

This book on chocolate for middle grade readers covers chocolate from its light to dark aspects, from the way it was discovered to the slaves that were used to grow and harvest it. This book addresses the history, science, botany, environment, and human rights swirling around the world’s obsession with chocolate.

Chocolate Touch  

Chocolate Touch
written by Patrick Skene Catling
illustrated by Margot Apple
HarperCollins, reissued in 2006

John Midas loves chocolate. He loves it so much that he′ll eat it any hour of any day. He doesn′t care if he ruins his appetite. After wandering into a candy store and buying a piece of their best chocolate, John finds out that there might just be such a thing as too much chocolate. This take on the legend of King Midas is written with humor and action. First published in 1952, this is a charming story.

Chocolate War  

Chocolate War
written by Robert Cormier
Pantheon Books, 1974

In this classic young adult novel, Jerry Renault is a freshman at Trinity who refuses to engage in the school’s annual fundraiser: selling chocolate. Brother Leon, Archie Costello, the Vigils (the school gang) all play a part in this psychological thriller. Cormier’s writing is game-changing.

Milton Hershey  

Milton Hershey: Young Chocolatier
(Childhood of Famous Americans series)
written by M.M. Eboch
illustrated by Meryl Henderson
Aladdin, 2008

As a young boy, Hershey had to drop out of school to help support his family. He was a go-getter. Working in an ice cream parlor gave him ideas about sweets and selling chocolate to the public. He started his own business, work long and hard to perfect the chocolate his company sells to this day, and learned a good deal about economics, marketing, and running a company. An interesting biography for young readers.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate  

No Monkeys, No Chocolate
written by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young
illustrated by Nicole Wong
Charlesbridge, 2013

A good look at the ecosystem and interdependence of a chocolate tree and the lively monkeys that chew on its pods as they swing through the jungle, distributing seeds. Readers look at the one tree’s life cycle, examining the flora, fauna, animals, and insects that contribute to the making of cacao. Two bookworms on each page comment on the information, making this information even more accessible.

Smart About Chocolate  

Smart About Chocolate: a Sweet History
written by Sandra Markle
illustrated by Charise Mericle Harper
Grosset & Dunlap, 2004

A book sharing many facts about the history and making of chocolate, it’s short and engaging. Illustrated with cartoons and dialogue bubbles, photos and charts, this is a good survey of chocolate. Includes a recipe and suggestions for further reading.

This Books is Not Good For You  

This Book Is Not Good for You
written by pseudonymous bosch
Little, Brown, 2010

In this third book in the series, Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji work to discover the whereabouts of the legendary tuning fork so they can get Cass’s Mom back after she’s kidnapped by the evil dessert chef and chocolatier Senor Hugo. High adventure with a fun attitude.

Read more...
The Magic Valentine's Potato

Big Bob and The Magic Valentine’s Day Potato

Several years ago, a mysterious package arrived at our house on Valentine’s Day: a plain brown box addressed to our entire family with a return address “TMVDP.” The package weighed almost nothing. It weighed almost nothing because the box contained four lunchbox serving-size bags of potato chips. Nothing else. Or at least I thought there […]

Read more...