Pizza Picture Books

Children should eat less pizza, according to the American medical profession.  Unless they can be coaxed into consuming pizza with more kale and less cheese…  But like junk food, pizza can be enjoyed in a picture book instead of on a plate!

Jan Pienkowski. Pizza! A Yummy Pop-up. Paper engineering by Helen Balmer and Martin Taylor. (Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, c.2001). Promised gift.

To some illustrators, the idea of making a pizza is an invitation to collaborate with paper engineers.  Some animals put pizza on the menu when the king of beasts announces that he is dropping by for lunch.  A penguin kneads the dough with his  feet, thanks to a pull-tab.  Other moving parts make it possible for the kitchen crew to sprinkle over the dough “creepy, crawly, tasty toppings” like caterpillars, bugs, tadpoles, worms, and a peppy frog.  A flap lets the polar bear and mouse pop the pie into the oven and close the door.  Too bad the pizza doesn’t fill up the lion…

William Boniface, What Do You Want on Your Pizza? Illustrated by Debbie Palen. (N.p.: Price Stern Sloan, c2000). Promised gift.

This unusual board book lets children “order” a slice from the pizza man. The laminated pages are so deep that they have recesses in the shapes of all the different toppings.  Readers can follow the suggestions for finishing the pie in the text or put what they like on it, helping themselves to the pepperoni, anchovies, and veggies in the plastic box attached to the inside of the rear board.

Cover illustration by Roberta Holms for Pizza Math (Alexandria, VA: TimeLife for Children, c1992) Promised gift.

Believe it or not, Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggested using waffles to teach children mathematical concepts. His spirit lives on in the “I Love Math” series, which tries to make the subject “a hands-on, interactive learning experience” by inventing “entertaining characters” and placing them in scenarios that “invite your child to solve math challenges.”  One of the activities in Pizza Math  is a board game called “Tic-Tac-Pizza” printed on the rear endpaper.  Ask mom for some macaroni and jelly beans and play along with the octopus in a chef’s toque and a cat in a trench coat and pink heels.

Endpapers by Sharron O’Neil.

The game Pete’s parents invented to distract him the day the ball game with his friends was rained out looks like a lot more fun than “Tic-Tac-Pizza”  and it was tested extensively by William Steig on his youngest daughter Maggie.

William Steig. Pete’s a Pizza. (New York: Michael di Capua Books, HarperCollins, 1999, c. 1998). Promised gift.

Dad picks up his sulking son off the couch and plops him down on the kitchen table so he can be made into a delicious pizza!  Once the “dough” has been thoroughly kneaded, then it is tossed into the air and stretched into a translucent circle.

Now the “pizza” can be topped with “tomatoes” (checkers) and “cheese” (bits of paper) before it is put in the “oven” (the sofa).  But by the time it is nice and hot, the sun has come out and the “pizza” runs outdoors to find his friends.

 For some people, the only thing better than eating pizza, is being one!

You Can Still Attend “Creating Children’s Books,” the October 2014 Symposium at UPenn’s Kislak Center!

kislak flier croppedIf you are interested in the modern American picture book, but weren’t able to make it down to the Kislak Center in the University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library on October 18-19 for the “Creating Children’s Books” symposium, it’s possible to watch the videos of the four lively Saturday sessions. Here is a who’s who of the program (the link to the session follows the names of the panelists):

Session 1: “Creating Children’s Books: Authors and Illustrators”

Moderator

Andrea Immel, Curator, Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University Library

Panelists

Harry Bliss, Children’s book illustrator and cartoonist http://www.harrybliss.com

Richard Egielski, Children’s book author and illustrator http://www.richardegielski.com

Matt Phelan, Children’s book author and illustrator http://www.mattphelan.com

Robert Sabuda, Children’s book author, illustrator, and pop-up artist http://www.robertsabuda.com

For the video recording of session 1: Click here

Session 2: “The Role of Collaboration: Publishers and Agents”

Moderator

Lynne Farrington, Curator of Printed Books, Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania Van-Pelt Library

Panelists

Wesley Adams, Executive Editor, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, McMillan Children’s Publishing Group

Lily Malcolm, Executive Art Director & Associate Published, Dial Books for Young Readers

Holly McGhee, Creative Director, Pippin Properties, Inc. http://www.pippinproperties.com

For the video recording of session 2: Click here

Session 3: “Diversity in Children’s Books”

Moderator

Ebony Thomas, University Pennsylvania School of Education

Panelists

Jerry Pinkney, Children’s book author and illustrator www.jerrypinkneystudio.com

Deborah  Taylor, Coordinator, School and Student Services, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

For the video recording of session 3: Click here

Session 4: “The Future of Children’s Books”

Moderator

Leonard Marcus, Children’s book historian, author, and critic

Panelists

Lauri Hornik, President and Publisher Dial Books for Young Readers

Judy Schachner, Children’s book author and illustrator www.judithbyronschachner.com

Laurent Linn, Art Director, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

For the video recording of session 4: Click here