Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review and Give-Away: The Divvies Bakery Cookbook

Update: Congratulations to the winner of this give away, "chromiumman," who has been notified by email.

As regular readers of Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile may know, our little bookworm has a host of food allergies (including, among others, egg, milk, wheat, and nuts).  I was excited to receive a copy of a new allergy-friendly cookbook this month, and for the chance to not only review it, but to provide a give-away copy to one of our readers!

The Divvies Bakery Cookbook: No Nuts. No Eggs. No Dairy. Just Delicious!  The Divvies Bakery Cookbook: No Nuts. No Eggs. No Dairy. Just Delicious!

For those who are not aware, Divvies is a dedicated milk, egg, treenut and peanut-free company  started by Lori Sandler, mom to an allergy-ridden son.  Honestly, we have not tried any Divvies products because of my son's wheat allergy, but I have read about the company often in allergy circles, and was eager to learn more.




The Divvies Bakery Cookbook contains over 75 nut-, egg-, and dairy-free recipes.  I love that the book divides them into categories such as "Sweets That Make the Schoolhouse Rock" (with plenty of bakesale suggestions) and "It's Your Party!" (with great birthday ideas).  This is clearly written by an allergy mom!



I have tried one recipe so far -- just one, but I have tried it three times.  Not because it didn't work out well, but because it was so delicious that we kept needing more of it!  In the book, the recipe is called "Fruity Frozen Slushies."  The idea is to make a wonderful slushie mixture with fresh fruit (and few other ingredients), freeze them, and bring them along on picnics as a slushie, as it will melt a bit on the way.

We call it homemade berry gelato or sorbetto around here, though, and eat it right out of the freezer - sometimes even in cute little cups like in this photo.  We recently discovered a gourmet gelato shop nearby that serves a few dairy-free sorbetto flavors.  My son loves going there, and hasn't had any issues, but as with any shop, there is always a risk of cross contamination.  I cringe when I look at all of the pistachios and hazelnuts decoratively topping the nearby gelato flavors in the case.  This allows me to make him a treat that is truly just as good, far cheaper, and likely much healthier.  Not to mention getting to work on our stockpile of frozen raspberries from our garden.

I love the organization of the book, variety of recipes, clear instructions, and the beautiful photographs.

Peeves?  Just two minor things ...

Since we deal with a wheat allergy, many of the recipes are currently off limits to us, unless we modify them and do some experimentation (or, the Bibliophile outgrows his wheat allergy, which I hope will happen soon!).  That's not a peeve, of course, but it would have been great if the book somehow denoted which recipes were gluten free in the index, maybe with asterisks or just a separate list.  There are blank pages in the back, though, so we can just make our own list back there.

I was excited to try the fudge recipe below, which I received permission to share with readers.  Edited to Add: I originally posted a concern here about possible nut cross contamination with the Silk brand creamer.  I was able to talk to the company today, and received great information that eliminated my concerns.  If you are worried about nut cross contamination with any Silk products, call the number on the carton, and they will explain how to tell if an individual product was produced in a facility with nuts (by giving you a code to check for on each carton). 

Here is the Fudge recipe from the book.  If you get the chance to try it before I do, I'd love to hear how you like it.



Win a Copy!

The publisher has generously offered to provide a copy of the Divvies Bakery Cookbook to one lucky reader.  To win:

1) Leave a comment here saying why you would like to win this book.  Make sure to leave your email address in your comment if it isn't in your profile, so I have a way to contact the winner.

2) Follow Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile or Crazy Allergy Mama and leave a separate comment letting me know.

3) Facebook or twitter about this give-away and leave a separate comment letting me know.

That's three entries per person.  Prize may ship only to U.S. or Canadian addresses.  Deadline is one week from today - July 28, 2010 at midnight EST.  Good luck!

Update: Congratulations to the winner of this give away, "chromiumman," who has been notified by email. 


Disclosure: We were provided with a copy of the Divvies Bakery Cookbook in order to write this review.  If you click on any of the links above and purchase anything, we may receive a small commission through our affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review: Pelé King of Soccer

This summer, our Infant Bibliophile had a fantastic time in his first "itty bitty soccer" class.  You would expect nothing less than adorable from a class with "itty bitty" in its title, and we got it:



The only sad thing is that the class only lasted for one month, and I'm not sure where to go from here to continue his interest in any formal way, given that he isn't yet three years old.  For now, we play with our soccer ball often and, of course, will pick up any soccer books we see!

So, I was delighted when I was asked recently to review the book below, which not only includes soccer, but is also a bilingual Spanish book.

Pelé King of Soccer / El rey del fútbol, by Monica Brown.  This book tells the story of Pelé, "King of Soccer."  We follow his journey from a young boy growing up in Brazil (shining shoes and selling meat pies to help his poor family), playing soccer in the streets with his father, and later forming a soccer team with his friends - barefoot because they couldn't afford shoes.  Pelé is invited to try out for his first professional soccer team, and of course goes on to win three World Cups and become the first soccer player to score 1,000 goals.  The story is told in English and repeated in Spanish on the same page.  The vivid illustrations have a dreamlike quality to them, with bright, swirling images.  This would be a wonderful read for any young bibliophiles who became enthralled with the World Cup action this year.
Excerpt:
"Can Pelé score three goals in one game, a hat trick?  He traps the ball with his thighs and ankles, and before it even touches the ground, he shoots.  Pelé and his team have won again.  The crowd chants, 'Pelé!  Pelé!  O Rei!  Pelé!  The King!'"
Bookworm's interest at 2 years, 8 months: The book's targeted age, per the book jacket, is 4-8 years, so we are on the young side for it.  We generally don't let that stop us.  We have read this twice - once reading both the English and the Spanish (and only making it halfway through) and again reading only the English (and finishing the whole thing).  It keeps his interest.  He vaguely understands the idea of the World Cup, and he likes soccer, but the illustrations might be a little too artistic for him to understand exactly what is happening in them.   I'm glad to have this one on our shelves, though; I would definitely recommend it for an older child, and we will continue to read it too.

Me: Did you like this book?
Bibliophile: I liked it a little bit.
Me: What did you like about it?
Bibliophile: That it has English and Spanish!
Me: Do you think that an older boy would like it even more?
Bibliophile: Umm, yes!


Daddy also reports that the Bibliophile later explained to him that Pelé's father was sad because they didn't win the World Cup (before Pelé was playing on the team).  It always amazes me how much a child picks up on when you think they are not paying attention or understanding.

Comment: Do your kids play sports?  When did they start?  Do you have any other books about soccer that you enjoy/recommend?


Disclosure: We were provided a publisher copy of Pelé King of Soccer in order to write this review.  If you purchase anything by clicking on the links in this post, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review: Olivia

 We finally read an Olivia book!

Olivia, by Ian Falconer.  Olivia is a young, precocious and lively little girl pig, depicted in playful, tri-color illustrations of black, white, and red.  We were entertained by the entire book, which contains various snippets of Olivia's (very much human-like) action-packed day, including a trip to the art museum and a time out for painting her walls, but it was the last couple of pages that really resonated with me.  They're excerpted below.
Excerpt:
"But of course Olivia's not at all sleepy.  'Only five books tonight, Mommy,' she says.  /  'No, Olivia, just one.' 'How about four?' 'Two.' 'Three.' 'Oh, all right, three.  But that's it!' / When they've finished reading, Olivia's mother gives her a kiss and says, 'You know, you really wear me out.  But I love you anyway.'  And Olivia gives her a kiss back and says, 'I love you anyway too.'"
Bookworm's interest at 2 years, 7 months: We could have written that negotiation -- even the numbers are right for us (5 is our upper book limit, and 1 when I'm tired).  Maybe it's my own legal background, but I can't help but reward the Bibliophile for good negotiating!  Also, we like to play a little game where I ask, "does Mama love you when you won't sleep?  Does Mama love you when you're cranky?" etc., so the "I love you anyway" theme is familiar around here.  

This was the last book we read before bed, on a five book night, so he was a little tired.  But he certainly made it all the way through, and I think he was also amused by the last few pages.  He particularly enjoyed the illustration of Olivia snuggled up against her mother in bed reading a book on the last page (as that's what we were doing as we read it), and gave me a kiss as Olivia did to her mama.  I think we'll enjoy this one for awhile, and I'm looking forward to reading some of the other Olivia books, one of which we have lined up for tomorrow night.


11" Olivia The Pig Plush Doll in Classic Red DressI was browsing other titles in the series and came across this stuffed Olivia.  How cute a gift would this make coupled with a book?  I'm a sucker for these book character stuffed animals, but I do wish that they cost a bit less.
 


Comment!  Do you like the Olivia series?  why or why not?  Which book in the series is your favorite? 

Disclosure: If you click on any links in this post and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.

Reminder: Have you entered our Despicable Me give-away yet?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Review and Give Away: Sleepy Kittens and the Despicable Me Series

This give away is now closed.  Congratulations to the winner, Aliya, who has been notified by email.

Books so often play a vital role in children's bedtime routines.  In our house, a long day might end with just one book, or a normal bedtime may involve five favorites (picked by the Infant Bibliophile, of course).  Frequently, he insists on trying to read them himself, which can drag on quite a bit . . . especially when he craftily requests the Spanish-English dictionary as one of his five!  We don't always focus on books about bedtime, but I find it can be nice to have the last book we read be one about sleeping.  Some of our favorites include Goodnight, Moon and the Going to Bed Book.  (You can read all of our reviews of children's books about sleep here.)

This week, we were happy to add another board book about sleep to our collection.  First, the review. Then scroll down for a great give away!

Sleepy Kittens, by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio.  Sleepy Kittens is a tender little story about three kittens evading bedtime ("Mommy, we're not tired at all!"), and their very patient mother cat.  Eventually, the kittens succumb to their mother's lullaby.  The book's unique format includes three soft felt finger puppets attached to the top of the book.  This entertained our 2 1/2 year old bookworm, but I think it would be perfect for an Infant Bibliophile as well.
Excerpt:
"Three little kittens with milk all gone, rubbed their eyes and started to yawn." / 'We can't sleep.  We can't even try!'  then their mother sang a lullaby."
Bookworm's interest at 2 years, 7 months: When he first saw the book, he instantly went to the finger puppets.  He touched them and said:
Finger puppet #1: "Hello, how you today?"
Finger puppet #2: "I am nice."
Finger puppet #3: "I am nice too."

Then we convinced him to get ready for his nap, with the promise of reading this in bed.  He climbed in and we read it.  Afterward, we had this discussion:
Me: "Do you like this book or do you not like it?"
Bibliophile: "You DO like it!"
Me: "What did you like about it?"
Bibliophile: "Because it have cats and because they all go to sleep."

He then rolled over onto his stomach and closed his eyes to take his nap.  I swear!  Want your own copy now?  You can order it here.





Give Away!

On July 9, the movie Despicable Me will be released in theaters.  You can view a movie trailer here.

Summary: In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences and flowering rose bushes sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden deep beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by an army of mischievous little minions, we discover Gru (Steve Carell) planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon (Yes, the moon!) in Universal’s new 3-D CGI feature, Despicable Me.



You can read about the companion Despicable Me book series on the official Despicable Me website.  And now you have a chance to win a set!


One (1) Winner will receive:
  • Sleepy Kittens
  • My Dad the Super Villain
  • The World’s Greatest Villain
  • Despicable Me: The Junior Novel
  • Despicable Me T-shirt
  • Despicable Me pencil 
Wow!

To enter:
1) Leave a comment.   If your email address isn't accessible via your profile, make sure you leave it in your comment.

2) Follow or subscribe to Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile and leave a comment letting me know.

3) Tweet about this give away with a link to this post and leave a comment letting me know.

Maximum of three entries per person.  Prize may ship to U.S. addresses only.  Deadline is midnight, EST, on July 14, 2010.   Good luck!

Disclosure: We were provided a copy of Sleepy Kittens in order to write this review.  If you click on any of the links above and purchase anything, we may get a small commission through our affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.