Lidia's Family Kitchen: Nonna's Birthday Surprise

( 1 )

Overview

It's Nonna Mima's birthday, and Nonna Lidia and her grandkids are determined to throw her a surprise feast! While planning the evening's menu, Nonna Lidia shares her memories of growing up on the farm during each season of the year, gardening her own fruits and vegetables, and being surrounded by animals of all kinds. After a trip to the farmers' market, Lidia and the kids prepare a pasta primavera, perfect for a family celebration!

Renée Graef's warm, heartfelt illustrations ...

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Overview

It's Nonna Mima's birthday, and Nonna Lidia and her grandkids are determined to throw her a surprise feast! While planning the evening's menu, Nonna Lidia shares her memories of growing up on the farm during each season of the year, gardening her own fruits and vegetables, and being surrounded by animals of all kinds. After a trip to the farmers' market, Lidia and the kids prepare a pasta primavera, perfect for a family celebration!

Renée Graef's warm, heartfelt illustrations capture Lidia Bastianich's love for her family and the food that they share. Included are eighteen recipes that emphasize the ingredients abundant during each season and the use of leftover ingredients, while "Kids Can" suggestions note ways that kids can participate in the making of the meals.

Whether you are looking for an intergenerational family story or are a fan of America's favorite Italian chef, Nonna's Birthday Surprise delivers a savory treat.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Pamela Paul
As warm and homey as a Sicilian country kitchen, this latest foray into children's books by Bastianich, the TV hostess and chef, should appeal across generations.
Publishers Weekly
Fans of Bastianich’s cooking shows on PBS will be familiar with her mother, Erminia, whose birthday brings the whole family together in the author’s second picture book, following 2010’s Nonna Tell Me a Story. As Nonni Lidia and her five grandchildren try to plan a menu for her mother’s birthday dinner, Lidia shares a season-by-season reminiscence of her childhood in Istria, now part of Croatia. Spring meant picking fresh peas, summer involved hunting down goose eggs, and harvesting potatoes and relying on preserved foods accompanied autumn and winter. There’s a strong locavore emphasis throughout, especially when—back in the present day—Nonni Lidia and her grandchildren visit the farmer’s market, gathering ingredients for pasta primavera. All five grandkids get lines and moments in the spotlight (one can’t play favorites where grandchildren are involved), which tends to further slow an already sluggish story. Graef (Paul Bunyan’s Sweetheart) provides soft, cheery scenes of intergenerational interaction, highlighting the idea that children can play active roles in family meals. More than a dozen recipes, organized by season, close out the story. All ages. Illustrator’s agent: Cornell and McCarthy. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"As warm and homey as a Sicilian country kitchen, this latest foray . . . should appeal across generations."—The New York Times

"[Lidia’s] exhortations about seasonal, fresh and healthful eating and her celebration of the sensuous joys of touching, tasting and experiencing food are evocative and winning. The 18 recipes at the back are excellent.'—Kirkus Reviews

"[S]oft, cheery scenes of intergenerational interaction, highlighting the idea that children can play active roles in family meals."—Publishers Weekly

"It's a recipe of roles that makes for a delightful little story."—Chicago Tribune

"The book contains adorable illustrations by Renée Graef and eighteen recipes, which emphasize fresh seasonal ingredients."—Relish.com

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—The celebrity chef gathers her five grandchildren to make a meal for their other grandmother's birthday. Before they start the dinner preparations, Bastianich tells about her childhood on a farm in Italy. She explains how each of the four seasons has its special foods. This leads to a lesson on where food comes from, and then they all go to a farmer's market where the children are told to pick out anything they want. "We can figure out what to make when we get it all home," says Grandma. Once home they discover that they have just what they need to make pasta primavera, and they all help prepare the meal. More family members arrive, and the birthday is duly celebrated. The remainder of the book is recipes, at least four for each season. The recipes make up such a prominent part of the book that it's best shelved in the 641s rather than in the picture-book section. The recipes are quite complex but each one has a "Kids Can" section for the parts of the preparation that are appropriate for children. The illustrations vary in size from full spreads to three varying scenes per spread. The faces are uniform and unchanging. This is a title that the whole family can enjoy as grown-ups and kids start cooking together.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
The chef and television personality makes another charming foray into family and food history (Nonna Tell Me a Story, 2010). Nonni Lidia welcomes her five grandchildren into her kitchen to discover that they want to make dinner for their great-grandmother Nonna, who is 92. Lidia tells them about growing up in Istria in Italy, where her family grew or raised much of their food, and the joys of eating by season. At the local farmers' market, Nonni Lidia gives each child some money and tells them to buy what seems good to them. With the lovingly described tomatoes, basil, cheese and asparagus the children buy, they come home to make pasta primavera. There is something of an overuse of the word "special," and exclamation points are sprinkled about with abandon. Still, Lidia's exhortations about seasonal, fresh and healthful eating and her celebration of the sensuous joys of touching, tasting and experiencing food are evocative and winning. The 18 recipes at the back are excellent; they are aimed at adults and accompanied by a sensible list of what kids can do to assist in preparing each one. Graef's illustrations are rosy, and the people, animals and foodstuffs are depicted with plump, round edges; all are washed in the golden light of memory. Grazie! for this warm celebration. (Picture book/cookbook. 6-10, adult)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762446551
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/26/2013
  • Pages: 60
  • Sales rank: 308,808
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Lidia Masticchio Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich first learned how to cook in Italy when she was a little girl. She now owns four restaurants in New York City, one in Pittsburgh, and one in Kansas City. She has three television shows on PBS, including Lidia's Italy, and is the author of numerous bestselling cookbooks and the children's book, Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia's Christmas Kitchen. In addition, Lidia has her own line of pasta sauces, a winery in Italy, and loves to cook with her five grandchildren. She lives in Long Island, NY. You can visit her online at lidiasitaly.com and via Twitter @LidiaBastianich.

Renée Graef has illustrated over 70 books for children, including the Kirsten series in the American Girl collection and many of the My First Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has also illustrated classics such as The Nutcracker and My Favorite Things, as well as books on American icons Mount Rushmore and Paul Bunyan. She lives in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, with her family, and you can visit her online at graefillustration.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 11, 2013

    Highly Recommende

    This book is a delightfull one which is full of wonderfull pictures and recipes. I gave it to a 4-yr. old for her birthday & her older brother enjoyed reading it to her. They are a family who cooks together & I'm sure they'll like making Lidia's recipes.

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