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Blue Bowl Down: An Appalachian Rhyme
     

Blue Bowl Down: An Appalachian Rhyme

by C.M. Millen, Holly Meade (Illustrator)
 
C. M. Millen’s lilting, recipe in rhyme and Holly Meade’s inviting world of collage pay tribute to life’s simpler pleasures, and to the special relationship between mother and child.

Lift the bowl to make our bread,
down the blue bowl, little baby.

The sun is about to set, and it’s almost time for bed. But for the family in this

Overview

C. M. Millen’s lilting, recipe in rhyme and Holly Meade’s inviting world of collage pay tribute to life’s simpler pleasures, and to the special relationship between mother and child.

Lift the bowl to make our bread,
down the blue bowl, little baby.

The sun is about to set, and it’s almost time for bed. But for the family in this cozy Appalachian farmhouse, it’s time for the comforting ritual of making bread. Just as mother and child will soon settle down for their rest, the dough is prepared in its special blue bowl and left to rest on the stove. And come morning, after they (and the dough) have risen, it’s time to savor a warm, satisfying breakfast and the start of a new day.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As the sun sets in the Appalachian mountains, a redheaded toddler takes down a big blue bowl from the shelf and joins his mother in a time-honored evening tradition: making the bread dough, so it can rise overnight and be ready for baking early the next morning. Millen's (A Symphony for the Sheep) verse brings to mind the plaintive lilt and incantatory repetition of a lullaby: "Light the lantern, little baby./ Light the lantern, little baby./ Strike the match upon the stove./ Light the wick and make it glow/ on the blue bowl, little baby." Meade (A Place to Sleep) composes her watercolor and collage pictures from simple shapes and soft, earthy hues, gently stylizing her characters and setting to give them a comforting, homespun feel. She lyrically captures the sensations, choreography and emotional investment that go into the task: the white cascade of flour from a sifter, the concerted effort by the toddler to knead the dough (the musculature under his baby fat seems almost palpable), the shooing away of the inquisitive cat. Readers will easily imagine the sound of crickets serenading the night or the aroma of the freshly baked bread welcoming the toddler at breakfast time. Ages 2-5. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this picture book, through the use of repetition, the reader will follow the process of preparing and baking bread. The mother, with her son by her side, goes though the procedures step-by-step to make the bread. The bread is prepared and set for the night, but the baby as well goes through a series of steps before falling asleep each night like the bread. In the morning, after the bread has risen just as the baby has, the bread is baked and served for the beginning of the new day. The illustrations are simple and enhance the text. The repetition of the lines on each page read as a lullaby and these sound help create this wonderful story which would be a great read-aloud. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 7.
—Rosa Roberts
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A toddler and his mother make bread together in a blue bowl as their evening activity. The sense of place is seen through Meade's evocative watercolor-and-collage illustrations, not through Millen's text-"Light the lantern, little baby./Light the lantern, little baby./Strike the match upon the stove." It is clear that the house is rural, has a wood stove and no running water or electricity, but the process of making bread will remain a mystery to young listeners. What does come through in the lullaby rhyme and charming artwork are the joy and delicious rewards of working together. Cynthia Rylant's When I Was Young in the Mountains (Dutton, 1982) or Appalachia (Harcourt, 1991) have richer Appalachian cadences. For a celebration of bread making, taste David and Phillis Gershator's Bread Is for Eating (Holt, 1995).-Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A mother speaks rhythmically to her small child, using repetition and old-fashioned phrasing: "Lift your arms up, little baby. . . . Lift the bowl to make our bread, / down the blue bowl, little baby." Mother and child "walk the water" from the well, light the lantern, stir the flour in the blue bowl, "roll it up and push it down." The dough rests in the blue bowl beside the wood stove, and the child, who looks about four, gets tucked into a loft bed to dream about bread. In the morning, Mama has baked the loaves in time for breakfast. The watercolor and collage images take the simplest of shapes and colors-like the flour and water-to make homespun goodness. The author's note reflects on the family tradition of bread-baking that inspired her story. Sweet and wonderful to read aloud. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763618179
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
04/12/2004
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.25(w) x 11.63(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

C. M. Millen is the author of THE LOW-DOWN LAUNDY LINE BLUES, illustrated by Christine Davenier, and A SYMPHONY FOR THE SHEEP, illustrated by Mary Azarian. She says, "I love the sounds and rhythms of words, and how they add so much to a story. Regular visits to my ancestral Ireland, where words are cherished, provide much inspiration, as does the love of my large family and good friends."

Holly Meade is the author and illustrator of A PLACE TO SLEEP, and has illustrated many acclaimed books for children, including ON MORNING WINGS by Reeve Lindbergh, BOSS OF THE PLAINS: THE HAT THAT WON THE WEST by Laurie Carlson, and HUSH! A THAI LULLABY by Minfong Ho, which was a Caldecott Honor Book. She says, "To be loved, to belong, and to feel needed are the desires of all children. We all know the soil where these wonderful feelings are planted: in the home, in the everyday — in the making of bread. This warm and poetic story beautifully reminds us of these truths."

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