How to Bake an American Pie

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How do you bake an American pie?

Preheat the world until fiery hot with a hunger and thirst to be free. Now find a giant melting pot on the shores of a great shining sea.

From the bestselling author of Bear Snores On comes a remarkable recipe for America.

Including a dash of purple mountain majesties, cupfuls of courage, and a pinch of liberty, this beautifully illustrated ...

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How do you bake an American pie?

Preheat the world until fiery hot with a hunger and thirst to be free. Now find a giant melting pot on the shores of a great shining sea.

From the bestselling author of Bear Snores On comes a remarkable recipe for America.

Including a dash of purple mountain majesties, cupfuls of courage, and a pinch of liberty, this beautifully illustrated combination of ingredients yields an irresistible treat that promises plenty of servings for children everywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Wilson's (Bear Snores On) metaphorical tale serves up a stirring if sometimes syrupy recipe for American pie, "first ever made on the Fourth of July." The bakers, a toque-wearing dog and cat, first follow instructions to "Preheat the world until fiery hot with a hunger and thirst to be free," then place the steaming globe into "a giant melting pot on the shores of a great shining sea." Featuring type of varying size, the rhythmic rhymed verse draws from familiar songs and documents to deliver the creative culinary directives, among them: "Pat out a crust of fruited plains, then spread it as far as you dare. Fold in some fields of amber grains, enough for all people to share." Other items added to the increasingly full pot are "purple mountain majesties," "cupfuls of courage," "sweet freedom for all" and "secret ingredients" borrowed "from Heaven above. The key to it all is to pour in the pot plenty of faith, hope, and love." Colón's (Roberto Clemente) inventive, etching-like ink and watercolor art contains more than a soupçonof surrealism and cleverly incorporates images of historical events, symbols and monuments. A crust rolled from "spacious skies" covers the expansive pie, which, when finally baked, is topped with images of the American flag and a handful of familiar landmarks. Deftly blended graphics and lyrics concoct a patriotic read-aloud to savor at any time of the year. Ages 4-8. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Wilson tackles a tough problem with her patriotic metaphor of baking "the first ever made on the Fourth of July." A cat and a dog with chef's hats begin by preheating the world "until fiery hot with a hunger and taste to be free." They set out to satisfy these appetites with "a crust of fruited plains…" A text-less double-page then depicts fields covered with huge fruits, with more falling from the sky, all being rolled into a crust by a gigantic rolling pin. And "that's just the start of an American pie!" Next she adds "purple mountain majesties" and "cupfuls of courage." And so the baking continues with ingredients borrowed from our nation's qualities of "sweet freedom," "spiced with ideas…from faraway lands," and "plenty of faith, hope, and love." The text is set in a large typeface in short lines with rhymes. The single and text-less double-page illustrations are rendered in Colon's scratchy ink lines and watercolors. He incorporates historic images, such as Columbus's three ships and Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, into the imaginative cooking process. This stirring recipe should have readers standing proudly to attention.
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5 - Wilson serves up a celebration of our country, its founders, and the immigrants who built it with this rhyming recipe. With frequent references to "America the Beautiful," the tribute includes tangible geographic ingredients such as "fruited plains," "fields/of amber grains," and "purple mountain majesties." Less-tangible fixings include meekness, might, courage, liberty, justice, freedom, dreams, forgiveness, and "customs/from faraway lands." As the bakers add these essentials, the larger-than-life pie rises in its cast-iron melting pot. While the rhymes are clever, they are also saccharine: "The secret ingredients/cannot be bought,/so borrow/from Heaven above./The key to it all/is to pour in the pot/plenty of/faith, hope, and love." Colón's signature cross-hatched ink-and-watercolor illustrations, both sunny and whimsical, are the key ingredient in this otherwise syrupy dish. An amiable cat and dog sporting chefs' hats first "preheat the world"-a giant globe over a campfire-and then consult a cookbook, roasting wieners while they wait. A huge rolling pin flattens fields where giant apples, pears, and berries dwarf two grazing cows. Immigrants in period costume, suitcases and American flags in hand, free fall into a safety net guarded by the furry bakers. Observant readers will spy the strategically placed American symbols including the bald eagle, Statue of Liberty, White House, Mount Rushmore, and Columbus's ships. Kelly DiPucchio's Liberty's Journey(Hyperion, 2004), which features striking art by Richard Egielski, covers similar ground with less sentimentality. Use this title to introduce immigration units.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City PublicSchools

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
How do you bake an American pie? Just follow this grandiose recipe and you'll have a taste of the first American pie made on the Fourth of July. Starting with a preheated world that's "hot with a hunger and thirst to be free" and a "giant melting pot," you spread out the "crust of fruited plains" and fold in amber fields of grain, add some "purple mountain majesties" and "leaven with dawn's early light." Ladle in some liberty and sprinkle with freedom. Wilson takes her ingredients from American history and song to concoct a patriot pie that fairly bubbles and steams with noble ideals and geographical splendors. Colon's ink-and-watercolor illustrations cleverly incorporate tons of iconographic Americana, surreal kitchen images and feline and canine master chefs who measure, fold, roll, pour, whisk, spice and bake this gargantuan culinary masterpiece with breathtaking skill. From page to shining page, this should be a tasty treat for young patriots. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689865060
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 5/22/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 654,537
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Karma Wilson

Karma Wilson is the bestselling author of several picture books for Simon and Schuster, including the Bear series and Where is Home, Little Pip? Karma lives in Idaho, USA.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted August 6, 2013

    The text in How to Bake an American Pie is a lovely poem about i

    The text in How to Bake an American Pie is a lovely poem about ideally what it is to be an American and what forms America.  Karma Wilson, author of the charming "Bear" books, is equally charming here and surprisingly poignant.  As an adult, it reminds me of what is best about my country and countrymen.  After a fractious election season, I savored every heart-warming word.  For a child, the book gives ideals that are attainable, if not always present. 
    As much as I love Jane Chapman as the illustrator for the "Bear" books, I think Raul Colon was a perfect choice to illustrate this sweet and powerful poem-story.  In addition to his illustrations also being sweet and powerful, they are wonderfully whimsical in a way that actually enhance the poignancy of this book. 

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