Review: THIS IS OUR BABY, BORN TODAY By Varsha Bajaj

IMG_1881 Our first review. Here we go! First book up is THIS IS OUR BABY, BORN TODAY by Varsha Bajaj and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. Many of the Austin members of SCBWI were anticipating the born-day of this picture book, and I can see why. I read this to my two littles, who are 6 and 9 years old, and our collective feedback is, “what a sweet story!” This Is Our Baby, Born Today, celebrates the first day of an elephant’s life with a cast of loving characters — from mama to aunts to cousins to the moon. My six-year-old (and, no, I did not prompt him to say this) enjoyed the repetition, which gave the book a rise-and-fall rhythm, kind of like riding an elephant as it sways from side to side. My nine-year-old thought the book was beautiful, especially the warm illustrations, but he felt it was too young for him. Fair enough. It is, but he appreciated it none-the-less. For parents, a heartfelt message comes through. A message about what inspires and carries you through your own childhood to adulthood and the honoring of the great creatures — BIG and small — that ride along on this earth with us. We must take care.

I certainly look forward to reading this sun-shiny book of an elephant’s born day to my son’s first grade class.

OK, now on to the other portion of the review. I asked the boys, “If this book were a pie, what kind of pie would it be?” Such an odd question, but good things come from odd questions. My youngest said, “a chocolate pie with elephant cut-outs to make it look like they are playing in the mud.” My oldest said, “star anise and cinnamon pumpkin pie.” (He is my foodie, mind you.) And I made the pie recommended by the kiddo who would actually participate with me in the kitchen; therefore, the foodie won out. Here’s his take (with my help) on a pumpkin pie…

STAR ANISE AND CINNAMON PUMPKIN PIE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground star anise
1/4 tsp ground clove
2 large eggs
1 can pureed pumpkin
12 fl. oz. heavy cream
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell (I will provide my dough recipe soon. It is without fail and delicious!)


Mix brown sugar, honey, salt, cinnamon, star anise and clove in small bowl. In a separate larger bowl, beat the eggs. Add the honey, pumpkin and dry ingredients mixture and stir. Slowly stir in the heavy cream. Pour the mixture in a pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 2 hours and serve or refrigerate.


UPDATE: The pie was DELICIOUS! Even my picky eater honked down a slice and begged for another. 

Books and Pie and Books and Pie

Hi folks! Welcome to my mash-up blog of two of the things I adore in life — children’s books and pie. Yes, I also adore my husband and my children, etc., etc., but that type of content might put you to sleep. So, welcome to my inaugural blog post of what the heck A Book and A Pie will be.

IMG_20160811_165822154So why children’s books? Well, I write them. And as I travel down the path to (knock-on-wood) publication, I will post about children’s books I have read and my children have read here and let you know what we think of them. I’ll cover picture books on up to middle grade. Anything beyond that, well, I might sneak in a few that are for adults, because sometimes I have to adult.

Now for the pies. My kids and I will select a pie we think best represents the book we just reviewed. We’ll bake it, provide the recipe and then most likely eat it. We would share, but Willy Wonka’s Television Chocolate camera never came to fruition.

SO why pies? Well, I love them, as I’ve mentioned before, and I can vividly remember tasting my mom’s chocolate meringue pie for the first time and becoming obsessed with its scrumptiousness. That led me to open a pie company many years back. That business has since shuttered, but my passion for pies lives on.

I hope you find this blog fun, informative, silly and tasty (because you tried the recipes, not because you licked the screen). Please feel free to share your thoughts on books and pie, because, as far as I’m concerned, that’s what makes the world go round. Read and nosh, read and nosh!