About the Holiday
Mid-winter is a perfect time to get out your favorite recipes, gather delicious ingredients, and bake with your kids! Not only does baking together teach valuable cooking skills, but it can bring a family closer. Talk about old family recipes and find new favorites. Of course the best part of baking together is eating the scrumptious treats afterward!
Written by Margo Leipua’ala Sorenson | Illustrated by Anneth Lagamo
As Keoki’s mom rushed around the kitchen making mango cupcakes, guava frosting, haupia pudding, and starfruit cookies for her son’s birthday party, Little Calabash sat hidden behind the big calabash bowls on the shelf and sighed. The mixer, spoons, rolling pin, and even other bowls were needed. Everyone had a part to play in Keoki’s party… “everyone but him.”
Little Calabash asked when it might be his turn, but the cocoa mug just told him, “‘get a handle on yourself,’” and the refrigerator said, “‘You need to chill out.’” Little Calabash just wanted to be special, to be useful. One of the large calabashes said that he just wasn’t big enough to help out. When the coffee pot saw how sad Little Calabash was, she reassured him and told him to keep believing in himself.
But Little Calabash didn’t know how Keoki’s mom would ever see him stuck behind the other items on the shelf. None of the other kitchen tools seemed to want to help, so he began rocking himself side-to-side and finally, he “wiggled his way from behind all the big calabashes.” Even though he had found his way to the edge of the shelf, some in the kitchen didn’t think he had what it took to be part of the birthday celebration.
When Keoki’s mother came towards the cupboard, Little Calabash hoped she’d see him. Instead “she took two big calabashes off the shelf.” Soon, it was almost party time. When Keoki saw the cupcakes, he asked if his could be put in a calabash. His mom wasn’t sure they had one the right size. Then Keoki reminded her that they had a little calabash. When she went to look, there was Little Calabash, nearly tipping off the edge. Keoki placed his special cupcake into the bowl and Little Calabash beamed. He’d always known he could be a big part of Keoki’s special day.
A Glossary describing the foods served at Keoki’s birthday party follows the story.
With charm and plenty of puns to keep kids giggling throughout the story, Margo Leipua‘ala Sorenson’s Little Calabash reminds readers that even though they may be small, they still have much to offer. Kids will empathize with Little Calabash’s wish to be given a job on this important family day and will cheer on his confidence and initiative when the other kitchen utensils and appliances try to hold him back.
Anneth Lagamo’s vibrant kitchen will engage kids as the utensils, appliances, and dishware get ready to celebrate Keoki’s birthday. Readers will enjoy scanning the pages to match the speakers of Sorenson’s clever puns with the characters. Kids can also clearly see Little Calabash’s sadness at being overlooked, determination to be noticed, and happiness at being chosen at last. Infused with the colors of the Hawaiian Islands, where the story is set, the illustrations will entice kids to learn more about this beautiful area.
Ages 4 – 8
Island Heritage, 2021 | ISBN 978-1617104459
Discover more about Margo Sorenson and her books on her website.
Bake for Family Fun Month Activity
Sweet Hawaiian Fruit Coloring Page
You can order Little Calabash from Island Heritage
Picture Book Review