Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.
The Adventures of Miss Petitfour, by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block, is a brilliant collection of five short stories, all featuring the enigmatic Miss Petitfour. Miss Petitfour loves to bake little cakes and she loves to eat. She loves her neighbourhood with its bookstore and bakery. And she loves to fly, travelling by tablecloth, puffed up “like a biscuit in the oven,” with her “sixteen cats dangling in one gigantic puss-tail.” Each story brings adventures, big and small: discovering the empty marmalade pot, with the spoon still in it; getting caught up in a jumble of coat hangers; chasing a runaway rare stamp; celebrating Minky, the cheese-loving cat’s birthday; rescuing a neighbour from a confetti explosion.
The charm of this book, besides its obvious appreciation of food and enticing descriptions, is found in the playfulness of the language, imaginative characters and creative plot twists. Plus, there’s the bonus of the authorial voice instructing the reader on key phrases (some of which are even in a different font colour) that can turn a story on a dime or resolve a plot thread or steer into an interesting digression. For example, Mi …
For most Canadian families with children, September is a time for new schedules and routines, plus resolutions to live better together, and family meals are a huge part of that. To that end, Chef Michael Smith's new cookbook, Family Meals, goes a long way. Here are recipes for busy families looking for opportunities to eat healthier, cook together, and feast together. With the chill in the air that September brings, this recipe for Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew will seem especially delicious. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons (30mL) of vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons (30mL) of curry powder
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
A 19-ounce (540mL) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cups (1L) of water
1 teaspoon (5mL) of salt
A 14-ounce (400mL) can coconut milk
2 cups (500mL) of fresh or frozen green peas
1 pint (500mL) of cherry tomatoes, halved
½ teaspoon (2mL) of your favorite hot sauce
The zest and juice of 1 lime
A handful of fresh cilantro sprigs
Splash t …