How Mama Brought the Spring

How Mama Brought the Spring

by Fran Manushkin, Holly Berry
     
 

One wintry morning, Mama tells Rosy a wondrous story about her own mama, Grandma Beatrice, who could bring spring to cold, cold Minsk by making magic in the kitchen. Together, mother and daughter mix batter and sing a song. Then the batter goes into the pan-pour, swirl, swizzle, FLIP! Soon Papa comes in from the cold and the family shares a special treat.

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Overview

One wintry morning, Mama tells Rosy a wondrous story about her own mama, Grandma Beatrice, who could bring spring to cold, cold Minsk by making magic in the kitchen. Together, mother and daughter mix batter and sing a song. Then the batter goes into the pan-pour, swirl, swizzle, FLIP! Soon Papa comes in from the cold and the family shares a special treat. (Hint: A recipe for blintzes is included!)

In this delightfully cozy tale, Holly Berry's stunning illustrations evoke charming folk traditions and the warm magic made in Mama's kitchen.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Rosy Levine and her cat, Moishe, are protesting the long Chicago winter by refusing to get up. So Mama tells a story from her own girlhood back in Minsk, where Rosy's grandmother, Beatrice, chased away the winter by cooking a delicious batch of blintzes (a recipe can be found on the final page). Working in the colors and motifs of Russian folk art, Berry (The Impudent Rooster) conjures a frosty but idyllic Old Country. The family's robust faces suggest those of matryoshka (nesting dolls), the cottage is tidy and quaint, Rosy's grandfather has a dashing Dr. Zhivago look going, and Beatrice is almost soignée in her patterned babushka and elaborate shawl. "Soon they sizzled so," says Manushkin's (Latkes and Applesauce) Mama of the blintzes, "I saw the ice on our windows melt." The blintzes' spring-evoking powers aren't confined just to the household: in Berry's whimsically imagined outside world, animals bask in radiant warmth, sunflowers burst forth from the earth, and music literally fills the air. Why, then, does this pretty, goodhearted book not achieve emotional traction? Perhaps it's because this clearly Jewish family feels denatured by the match-up with Russian folk styles. Except for their last name (and the cat's) and the occasional Yiddish inflections in Mama's speech ("Winters today-what arethey? A few little puffs and they're done") the characters could belong to any or no tradition. The illustrations concentrate on making the kitchen a magical place, but they skip the seasoning. Ages 5-up. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
This wonderful tale is the perfect answer when everyone is thoroughly tired of dull, dreary winter. Little Rosy is in just such a state one winter morning in Chicago. So, her mother begins the story of how Rosy's grandmother Beatrice managed to bring springtime to Minsk. When Rosy's mother was a girl, winters in Belarus were very long, very snowy and very dreary. One morning, like Rosy, she refused to get out of bed until her mother's singing brought her to the kitchen. Mama was busy mixing batter in a large bowl. After spreading a lovely blue tablecoth on the table, she watched eagerly as Mama poured batter into a hot pan, let it cook and then flipped a perfect golden yellow circle onto the table. This was repeated several more times until Papa came in from clearing snow. Now Mama let her daughter mix up some eggs, sugar and soft cheese until it was thick and creamy. Quickly, Mama spooned the mixture into the center of each little pancake, folded in two sides and rolled them tightly into little packets. Suddenly, the house seemed much warmer. When Mama began frying the packets, the kitchen even felt warmer. Mama served the mysterious bundles with cherry jam. They were truly delicious, and Mama called them blintzes. Suddenly, the snow and ice began melting and the harsh Siberian wind became a gentle breeze. Spring had arrived. The final page provides the recipe for Grandma's Cheese Blintzes, allowing readers to usher in their own spring season. The illustrations perfectly evoke the setting and action of the story, transporting readers to that part of the world at that time. This title is highly recommended. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2
One snowy morning in Chicago, Rosy is reluctant to leave her warm bed. Her mother coaxes her to the kitchen by telling her a story about her own childhood in Belarus, where the winters were much longer and colder. Mama describes how her mother made spring come by concocting special blintzes for breakfast one day. At the end, Rosy and Mama settle down to make blintzes too, hoping, perhaps, that they will chase winter away as grandmother once did in Minsk. Illustrated with busy, colorful folklike illustrations resembling traditional Slavonic art, the book concludes with a recipe for blintzes. Although not a necessary purchase, children will appreciate this winning look at a different culture.
—Judith ConstantinidesCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
This delicious picture book provides the perfect recipe for those who are sick of winter. In a story within a story, a mother tells her winter-weary daughter Rosy how her mother brought spring to Minsk, by mixing eggs, milk, cheese, flour and sugar to make a wonderful surprise. Golden circles of batter, flipped from the pan onto a blue tablecloth, look "like sunflowers against a blue sky." As mother and daughter cook, the house grows warm, the snow melts and wild animals awake, sniffing the air. Papa comes home, and the family eats the golden bundles. "What is it?" asks the daughter. "It's a blintz!" answers Mama. "What a perfect name! It tastes just like it sounds-surprising and sweet." As her story concludes, Rosy's mother brings out grandmother's tablecloth, and she and Rosy prepare to make blintzes to bring spring to Chicago. A blintz recipe is included. Berry's illustrations provide exactly the right touch, from the blue-fringed tablecloth endpapers to the folk-like art full of swirls, music and Chagall-like colors and perspectives. (Picture book. 5-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525420279
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/24/2008
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
11.50(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
5 Years

Meet the Author

Fran Manushkin has an award-winning list of children’s books to her credit. She makes blintzes in her kitchen in New York City.

Holly Berry’s gorgeous illustrations have brought many picture books to life. She lives in Waldoboro, Maine.

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