May 17 – World Baking Day

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About the Holiday

This may be the most delicious day of the year! Established to share the enjoyment—and scrumptious results—of homemade breads, cookies, cakes, pies…. (Yum! I’m getting hungry just typing this sentence!) …World Baking Day encourages people to try their hand at mixing up a new or favorite recipe. As this is a worldwide holiday, you may consider baking something from another country or from your heritage. With so many cookbooks and online recipe sites available, it’s easy to find—and make—the perfect treat!

The Case of the Stinky Stench

Written by Josh Funk | Illustrated by Brendan Kearney

 

The fridge is full and the denizens happy. Even former rivals Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are enjoying a sweet vacation together at the Marshmallow Coast. But wait! Who is that strange, half-moon shape rushing “past Trifle Tower” and “across Taco Bridge”? It’s none other than Sir French Toast’s nephew, Inspector Croissant, with a disturbing message. “‘Uncle,’ Croissant said, ‘the fridge is in trouble! / A horrible stench turned a whole shelf to rubble! / I’m the last hope, or the fridge will be lost! / Help me, or else we’ll be cooked, served, and sauced.’”

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Image copyright Brendan Kearney, text copyright Josh Funk. Courtesy of Sterling Books.

Just as he says this, the facts begin to stink for themselves, and French Toast pledges his help. It’s a do-or-die case for Croissant it seems, as he’s “solved zero cases since getting this job.” Lady Pancake decides the perp is Baron von Waffle and suggests the three pay him a visit. They quietly enter Onion Ring Cave, and Croissant confronts von Waffle. “‘What do you know about smells that are vicious?’ / ‘Nothing!’ said Waffle. ‘My home smells delicious.’” And he’s right; there’s nothing nose-worthy here. Lady Pancake, Sir French Toast and Inspector Croissant leave the cave only to find that the odor has worsened. They follow some tater tots playing nearby to a red curry dish, where an okra divulges an intriguing clue about “a stinky red fish / who lurks at the bottom of Corn Chowder Lake,’” but in his rush to investigate, Croissant trips “by Miss Steak” and goes flying.

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Image copyright Brendan Kearney, text copyright Josh Funk. Courtesy of Sterling Books.

Back on his feet, the intrepid detective and his side-kicks find a sardine-can boat and row across Corn Chowder Lake until they find the “red herring.” They’re convinced that they’ve “unraveled this stinky affair,” but rowing closer, they catch a tantalizing scent instead of a treacherous one. Lady Pancake is ready to give up, but not Inspector Croissant. He sticks his nose in the air and concludes that the smell hails from Casserole Cliff.

When they get to the cliff, they discover a shriveled up mess. The veggies are soft and the fruit a bit rotten, but Inspector Croissant sees the cause of the trouble—“a moldy old fruitcake from eight months ago!” The three are mulling how to get rid of this putrid pest when the fruitcake shares his story, which is all too familiar. The cake confesses that he came to the fridge as a fresh, yummy treat but was left there uneaten to mold and to reek.

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Image copyright Brendan Kearney, text copyright Josh Funk. Courtesy of Sterling Books.

The inspector understands a few things about food, and as he leads the sad culprit away from the cliff, he explains, “Everyone knows fruitcakes never go stale.” With careful trimming they clean up the cake. Soon the fruitcake is back to his delectable self and has attracted the attention of softhearted Miss Brie while the other foods welcome him back with good cheer and a party to boot.

With the case solved, kids are invited to join the swingingest party in town. As “Spuddy Holly and the Croquettes,” fill the fridge with music, the residents jiggle, wiggle, and dance with abandon across a two-page spread. A fold-down page presents a map that lets readers follow the action from Taco Bridge to Onion Ring Cave to Casserole Cliff and all the stops in between.

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Image copyright Brendan Kearney, text copyright Josh Funk. Courtesy of Sterling Books.

Just reading the first line of The Case of the Stinky Stench with its familiar, exuberant rhythm, I caught a smile creeping across my face as I anticipated the story to come. This sequel to Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast is a cool, fresh take on the mystery genre for little detectives in the—dare I say?—baking. The most delicious part of The Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series is Funk’s freewheeling imagination that comes to fruition in the expanse of that well-stocked refrigerator’s shelves. Clever rhymes, laugh-inducing puns, a whole stew—I mean slew—of fantastic words, and even a red herring await readers. Of course, old nemesis Baron von Waffle makes an appearance, and the introduction of the forgotten fruitcake shows kids that everyone deserves a second chance.

Brendan Kearney recreates the magic of this chef’s-delight of a refrigerator in full, vivid color and with the most adorable foods ever. Pink and white marshmallows, half-moon tacos, muffins, candy, cookies, and gummy bears all wear cute smiles, as they help Inspector Croissant. Even when the odor becomes overwhelming, the bottles, jars, fruit, and veggies sport endearing frowns. Rambunctious tater tots, hot chili peppers, and a steak-and-fries combo, join the fun. Kids will find ingenious details and visual jokes on every page, and will wish their refrigerators were half as exciting as the home of Lady Pancake and French Toast.

Ages 5 – 8

Sterling Children’s Books, 2017 | ISBN 978-1454919605

Discover the world of Josh Funk, his books, and activities for kids on his website!

View a gallery of illustration work and books by Brendan Kearney on his website!

It’s no mystery that you’ll enjoy The Case of the Stinky Stench book trailer!

World Baking Day Activity

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Bite-size Cinnamon Croissants

 

These mini cinnamon croissants are the perfect accompaniment to cup of tea and a great story! And they’re so easy that kids will love making them as much as they enjoy eating them!

Supplies

  • Tube of refrigerated crescent rolls
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Knife

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, or to the temperature on the package of crescent rolls
  2. Open the tube of crescent rolls and lay them on a cutting board. Do Not separate the rolls
  3. With the rolling pin, roll the dough until it makes one sheet
  4. Measure ¼ cup sugar into the mixing bowl
  5. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or desired amount) to the sugar and stir together until well mixed
  6. Spread a layer of butter over the surface of the dough
  7. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar across the dough. Use more or less depending on how much cinnamon flavor you like
  8. Cut the dough into triangles about two to three inches wide at the base
  9. Roll the triangles up, starting at the base. Looser rolls make flakier croissants
  10. Place the croissants on a baking sheet and curve them into a crescent shape
  11. Bake the croissants at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes, or until golden on top
  12. Let cool
  13. Enjoy!

Picture Book Review

March 25 – International Waffle Day

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

When someone made a spelling error, turning the Swedish holiday “Our Lady’s Day” (Vårfrudagen) into Waffle Day (Våffeldagen), a brand new culinary celebration began! Waffle Day also ushers in spring and offers the perfect excuse to enjoy these crispy concoctions whether you like them sweet, with syrup or confectioner’s sugar, or savory, as a base for meat and other toppings. So mix up some batter and pull out your favorite waffle maker and enjoy a delicious day!

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Written by Josh Funk | Illustrated by Brendan Kearney

 

You know those strange noises you sometimes hear coming from your refrigerator? And how you could have sworn the leftovers were on the top shelf? Well, Josh Funk’s Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast may solve those mysteries and more in this rambunctious tale about what happens when relationships grow frosty.

One day Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are hanging out at the back of the fridge when they learn the syrup is almost gone. Lady Pancake claims it as her own, but Sir French Toast replies, “Not if I get there first!” And so off they race! “Through Broccoli Forest, past Orange Juice Fountain, they climbed to the top of Potato Mash Mountain.” But the race takes a turn as the two meet obstacles that are no fun at all: at the edge of a shelf “Toast couldn’t quite stop, plummeting down into jam with a plop.” And “Chili Lagoon slathered Pancake in muck and then at a fork in the road she got stuck.”

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The one-time friends call each other names and taunt each other with boasts of being the best breakfast food. As their competition upends the peace of the whole refrigerator from shelf to shelf, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast find their energy wilting, and by the time they reach that sweet sought-after prize, they are “battered and soggy, exhausted and crumbling, too tired to push, they were limping and stumbling.”

With the bottle in sight, they are shocked to discover that the last drop of syrup is already gone. Who could have done this dastardly deed? None other than the sneaky Baron Von Waffle! With nothing to gain, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast no longer have a reason to fight. In fact they realize that they lost out on the syrup because they were fighting. When they see that there is a little butter left, they decide to use the lesson they learned and share it.

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There are so many fantastic rhymes in this book that kids will want to hear again and again. One of my favorites comes as Sir French Toast catches up to Lady Pancake: “He scraped himself off and yelled up, / ‘You’re a meanie!’ / as Pancake rappelled / down a rope of linguini.” With such laugh-inducing verses, kids may never look at food the same way again. Josh Funk has created a tale about friendship that is both boisterous and unique and sure to quickly become a favorite.

The refrigerator world as envisioned by Brendan Kearney is as colorful as the food rainbow and as active as a playground in summer. It’s also stacked with the cutest array of legumes, yogurt, cake, juices, fruit, and veggies you’ll find anywhere. The final fold-down page of the entire refrigerator is a delight that kids of all ages will want to linger over even after the story of The Great Race between Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast is over.

Ages 5 and up

Sterling Children’s Books, 2015 | ISBN 978-1454914044

Visit Josh Funk’s Website to download a free Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast Activity Kit and to learn about more upcoming titles!

Discover more art and books by Brendan Kearney on his website!

Watch the trailer for this amazing race – you’ll be singing the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast theme song in no time!

International Waffle Day Activity 

 

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Sweet as Syrup Figure

 

Fun shouldn’t be kept bottled up! Well…maybe just this once. Make your own figure to display or play with from a syrup bottle with this craft. It’s sure to be as sweet as you are!

Supplies

  • Small plastic syrup bottle with a narrow squeeze fliptop and without a handle, empty
  • 1 ½-inch wooden ball with ½-inch hole in bottom
  • 16-inch to 18-inch square piece of cloth
  • Ribbon or strip of material
  • 12 to 14-inch long medium-gauge craft wire
  • Gel pens, black, blue, brown, red (Gel pens work well on the wood as the ink doesn’t bleed into the wood and are easy to control)
  • Poly fill or needle-felting wool
  • Scissors
  • Strong glue

CPB - Syrup Bottle Figure II

Directions

To prepare the bottle

  1. Remove labels from syrup bottle
  2. Cut the flip top in half, keeping the narrow nozzle part

To make the head

  1. Holding the wooden ball with the hole at the bottom, draw a face on the wooden ball with the gel pens
  2. Glue a small handful of poly fill or needle-felting wool to the top of the wooden ball for hair. You can make the hair has long, short, or poofy as you wish.

To make the dress

  1. Cut a 16-inch diameter circle from the material

To assemble the figure

  1. To make the arms, wrap the wire around the neck of the syrup bottle, crossing it in the back and pulling tight
  2. Center the material over the opening of the syrup bottle
  3. Cut tiny slits in the material at the location of the wire on each side of the bottle, and pull the arms through the material
  4. Bend the ends of the wire into a small loop to form hands
  5. Screw the cap with the narrow nozzle over the material
  6. Tie the ribbon or strip of material around the narrow part of the bottle to make the figure’s waist
  7. Place the hole in the wooden ball over the nozzle in the cap and glue into place

Make up your own story with your new figure!