February 25 – Clam Chowder Day


About the Holiday

Today we laud that cozy concoction of clams, onion, and potatoes that creates a warm, satisfied feeling in the tummy and is the perfect antidote to winter’s chill. Whether you like New England style clam chowder with its rich, creamy base or the lighter tomato-based Manhattan version, this delicious soup is sure to hit the spot!

Blue Moon Soup: A Family Cookbook

Recipes by Gary Goss | Illustrated by Jane Dyer


“Beautiful Soup, so rich and green, / Waiting in a hot tureen! / Who for such dainties would not stoop? / Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!” With these words from Lewis Carroll, Blue Moon Soup introduces 33 delectable soup recipes plus some extras to go with them all wrapped up in the comfort and splendor of a picture book. The clever names of the soups will have kids giggling and eager to try such intriguing dishes as Twist & Shout, Polka Dot Soup, Bouncy, Bouncy Ball Soup, Squish-Squash Soup, and Funny Face Soup.


Image copyright Jane Dyer, courtesy of Sky Pony Press

Categorized by seasons, these soups make use of familiar as well as more unusual ingredients while sprinkling in kid-inspired surprises like the ice cream in Believe It or Not! Soup, which is a yummy alternative to the usual frozen version of this favorite treat. Hey, Hey Soup, a “hot and jazzy sweet potato soup named after a great jazz club in Kansas City,” incorporates the flavors of curry while on top floats a chocolate garnish.


Image copyright Jane Dyer, courtesy of Sky Pony Press

A few offerings from Winter are Ch-Ch-Chili; Brrroccoli Soup au Gratin; Hot Diggity Dog Soup, a tasty minestrone with a hot dog addition; and Sob Soup, an onion soup that will have you crying with joy. Spring brings (No) Duck Soup, a lentil pleaser; Soup of the Evening, a sophisticated feta cheese and spinach dish; Sweet Dreams Soup made from carrots; and Abracadabra, a soup with more than a little magic.

Summer’s active days are perfect for a quick lunch or dinner, and Best Buddy Soup of tomatoes and oranges is a fast goodie to cook—and share. Fruit makes another appearance in You Can’t Elope, made from—you guessed it—cantaloupe, and if you like to bask in the sun, you may love Bisque in the Sun, a creamy pool complete with a couple of shrimp. Before winter rolls around again, Fall drops with veggie-inspired soups made of potatoes, cabbage, pumpkins, squash, and peas.


Image copyright Jane Dyer, courtesy of Sky Pony Press

And what about our honored soup of the day—clam chowder? That’s here too in Fish Soup, garnished with goldfish crackers.

An Extra, Extra, Eat All About It! final chapter provides recipes for banana bread, corn muffins, salad, guacamole, nachos, and other delicious sides that make a well-rounded meal. Front matter gives a list of supplies, rules for working in the kitchen, and directions for setting a table.

Gary Goss, former owner of the Soup Kitchen Restaurant in Northampton, Massachusetts knows about soup and kids and what they like. In his Letter from the Chef that opens Blue Moon Soup, Goss talks about the warm, cozy feelings and good memories “soup day” creates and offers tips for making the cooking experience with kids easy and fun. Most recipes call for ingredients usually found in kitchens or easily picked up at the market and have fewer than ten steps to prepare them—steps that kids will enjoy helping with.


Image copyright Jane Dyer, courtesy of Sky Pony Press

Jane Dyer’s gorgeous illustrations populated with attentive fish waiters; lamb and lion best friends; a duck and ducklings fishing from the rim of a huge bowl; rabbits serving gazpacho; a cow, cat and, dog jazz trio; and more open each seasonal chapter and introduce some recipes. Each page is also peppered with adorable images of personified vegetables dancing, playing, cooking, and lounging that will charm little chefs as they help in the kitchen. Families may even find themselves making up stories about the characters in the book while the soup simmers.

Blue Moon Soup, a multi-award winning book, would make a delicious and often-consulted addition to anyone’s collection of cookbooks and a wonderful way to introduce kids to the art of cooking.

Ages 7 and up

Sky Pony Press, 2013 | ISBN 978-1620879900

Discover more about Jane Dyer and a gallery of her well-loved children’s books on her website!

Clam Chowder Day Activity


Souper Word Search Puzzle

Find the names of 20 ingredients in this tasty printable Souper Word Search Puzzle. Here’s the Solution.

Picture Book Review

July 9 – National Sugar Cookie Day


About the Holiday

Sugar Cookie Day may be one of the sweetest holidays on the calendar! With a few simple ingredients you can bake up delicious, melt-in-your-mouth confections that are perfect by themselves, with a cup of tea or milk, or served with fruit. The basic recipe can also be dressed up with all kinds of flavors and chips. Whether you slice the dough in circles or roll it thin and use cookie cutters, making sugar cookies is a fun way to spend time together!

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons

Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love

One Smart Cookie: Bite-Sized Lessons for the School Years and Beyond

Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal | Illustrated by Jane Dyer


Baking is such an ideal metaphor for life and one that children can understand and appreciate from a very early age. A child’s familiarity with and love of cookies make Cookies, Sugar Cookies, and One Smart Cookie perfect ways to teach children the lessons of good manners and social skills. Newly released in board book form, Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons opens to a curly-haired girl and her rabbit and Boston Terrier friends gathered around a mixing bowl. They are cooperating as the animals pour in the chocolate chips while the little girl stirs.

Having patience is often hard for young children. A girl and her sailor-suited Scotty dog stare into the glowing door of the oven, reminding kids that they are often already successful at this much-needed skill.  Once the cookies are baked, kids learn how to be proud of their accomplishment while also showing modesty, and they see compassion at work as a little boy reaches across the table to share his cookie with a cat whose cookie has fallen to the floor.

Two rabbits see the same half cookie on a plate very differently: One, trim in her blue bow, is pessimistic, while the other, rakish in his backward baseball cap, is optimistic. Honesty and courageousness are both learned when a contrite sheep tells the truth about taking a cookie: “I have to tell you something. The butterfly did not take the cookie—I took the cookie.” And “It was not easy for me to tell you that I took the cookie, but I took a deep breath…and made the words come out.”

Loyalty means sticking by a friend even if other kids have bigger cookies, and being open-minded is demonstrated when you try your friend’s new recipe even if the result looks a little odd. Contentment is found “sitting on the steps—just you and me, and a couple of cookies.” New insight closes the book with “I used to think I knew everything about cookies, but now I realize I know about one teeny chip’s worth.” After digesting these and other etiquettes, including respect, trustworthiness, fairness and unfairness, generosity, greediness, politeness, envy, and regret, children will be well on their way to life’s wisdom.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-sugar -cookies:-sweet-little-lessons-on-love

Sugar Cookies offers equally perceptive notions on love, defining such words as endearment, considerate, heartfelt, compassionate (“when you burn the cookies to a crisp, I’ll be there to give you a hug.”), selfless, tenderness, adore, cherish, protect, supportive, admire, requited and unrequited, forgive, unconditionally, and more.

One Smart Cookie gives kids direction as they navigate the social constructs of school and activities, defining terms such as prompt, organized and unorganized, prepared and unprepared, compromise, curious, ponder, empathy, integrity, contribute, and more with the same astute and homey ingredients as the previous books.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Cookies series offers life lessons with gentle encouragement in a loving, conversational tone as well as comforting advice for those times when situations and emotions can be difficult. The beautifully written text does not simplify the terms or talk down to children, but treats them with the respect, intelligence, and maturity that they will learn when applying these concepts.

With just the right combination of old-fashioned and modern charm, Jane Dyer (and Brooke Dyer as co-illustrator of One Smart Cookie) infuses each concept with enchanting depth. Gorgeous full-page paintings of children and animals dressed in comfortable sweaters, homespun dresses, overalls, and rolled up pants, paired with fine typography create pages worthy of framing. The children and their rabbit, cat, sheep, frog, horse, and dog friends display pride, happiness, patience, sadness, indignation, and love through facial expressions and body language that kids will recognize and respond to.

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons, Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love, and One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond should find a place on every child’s bookshelf.

Ages 4 – 8

HarperCollins Publisher:

  1. Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons, Board Book Edition, 2016 | ISBN 978-0062427397; Hardcover 978-0060580810
  2. Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love, 2009 | ISBN 978-006174072
  3. One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond, 2010 | ISBN 978-0061429705

To explore Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s books for children and adults, her short films, and much, much more, visit her website!

Visit Jane Dyer’s website to learn more about her and view a gallery of her books for children!

National Sugar Cookie Day Activity


Catch the Cookie! Maze


Sometimes you just need a cookie! Help the little girl find her way to her favorite cookies with this printable Catch the Cookie! Maze and Solution.