Review: WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE by Jason Gallaher

Who, who is ready for a who, who-dun-it? Mystery solved–you are! Go grab a copy of WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE (Margaret K. McElderry Books) by Jason Gallaher and illustrated flawlessly by Jess Pauwels. Whobert Whover is a charming and slightly oblivious (OK, a lot oblivious) owl detective on the lookout for his next case. And that is when he spots Perry the possum. The subtle humor from the play on words and whimsical visuals will keep the kids giggling and trying to help Whobert who, who seeks to solve the mystery of what happened to poor ol’ Perry. I mean seriously, poor Perry.

WHOBERT WHOVER is super funny, endearing, and clever, and so is its author. Can we talk about the name Whobert Whover? I mean, come on! Just the best name ever for this owl, who, who is more like Inspector Gadget than Sherlock. And could Whobert look any more perfect? Nope. Just nope. Enjoy this read with your kiddos or find a class to read to. It’s a joy! Speaking of class, Jason is offering a school visit give-away. For more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3h-nHIeb3c

Now, if this book were a pie, what would it be? Hmmmm. I’m inspired by the illustrations to go more fall-like, more earthy with this pie. Also, I think I need some complex flavors to keep the palate guessing. See what I did there? It’s a pie mystery, folks! OK, it can’t really be a mystery, because I have to tell you what’s in it. So, the grand unveiling…(DRUM ROLL!)…I’m making a spicy apple fig pie with a nutty crumble topping. YUM YUM! Go bake it and bring yer forks!


Pardon the photo, folks. I’m a writer and a baker, not a photographer. 🙂

SPICY APPLE FIG PIE

Ingredients

Fig Compote

8 oz dried figs, stemmed and sliced

1/4 cup cinnamon imperials (yep, the little candies)

Juice from 1 orange

1 1/2 cups of water

Apple Filling

4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thin

3 large Fuji apples, peeled and sliced thin

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp clove

1/2 tsp orange zest

pinch of salt

1 tbsp flour

Crumble

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup almond slices

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

For fig compote, combine figs, cinnamon imperials, orange juice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir frequently. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until figs are softened and the consistency is syrupy. Set aside.

For the apple filling, combine apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, orange zest, and salt in a saute pan. Cook down the apples until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the liquid into a clean saucepan and set aside apples. On medium-low heat, whisk in one tablespoon of flour into the reserved liquid to make a roux. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat.

Combine the fig mixture with the apple filling in the saute pan. Pour the roux on the fig/apple mixture and combine. Pour the combined mixture into a pre-made crust. (Click here for my crust recipe.)

For the crumble, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and almond slices into a food processor. Mix on high until combined. Sprinkle on top of filling.

Put the pie in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes (to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom). Then turn down the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Feel free to serve warm with some vanilla ice cream…droooool.

A Bit of News!

Hi all! I don’t know where the past few months went. My kids have grown inches since I last updated my blog. INCHES! OK, so I’m being dramatic. The slippery slope toward summer and then the summer months themselves can be somewhat busier for a SAHM/writer with two young boys, so I had to shuffle some priorities. Unfortunately, this yummy blog took a backseat. Now, it’s going back into the driver’s seat for a while, as I have a couple of reviews and tasty recipes to post. Be on the lookout!

In the meantime, I have some writerly news. I am now represented by Stephanie Fretwell-Hill of Red Fox Literary. Cue the fireworks, the sparklers, and even the whoopie cushions! I am a thrilled, thrilled lady, and am about to burst with smiles and exclamation points!

I began focusing on kid’s literature in early 2015, but have been a writer all of my life. Think diaries, journals, school newspapers, journalism major, public relations executive, etc. Always writing. I took a break from writing to launch and run a pie company for a couple of years, and when that didn’t go gangbusters like Starbucks (I jest), I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out: what am I going to be when I grow up? The dreaded question. The answer popped in my head after making up the bajillionth bedtime story for my sons. Why not mesh together two of my passions — writing and children? Yes. Yes! I can do this! So, off I went taking in all the information and research I could find about children’s literature.

My path to this point has been filled with lots and lots of learning via SCBWI (the Austin chapter), 12X12Picture Book Summit, The Writing Barn, and Writer’s Digest webinars, among so many other resources I’ve culled through along the way. I joined fantastic critique groups and have writing partners I meet with on a weekly basis, if not more. I’ve had loads of fun with online contests (#PBParty, #PitchMAS) and Twitter hashtag events (#PitMad, #PBPitch) to push myself and my manuscripts out into the ether. I’ve queried. And queried. And queried. I’ve received my fair share of rejections, which I call badges of honor, because, heck, I’m putting myself out there. And then one day I didn’t get rejected. Really, I didn’t know what to do with that information. I didn’t go all Sally Fields or anything, but my back straightened a little bit. My shoulders pulled back. My head tilted a little higher. It feels good. But now the real, real, FOR REAL work starts. So, my learning of this fantastic craft will continue as I move forward with my kid lit career. Thank goodness, because I adore it. Every. Last. Bit.