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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Voicing Blame

For dinner tonight I made one of our favorite sandwich recipes: prosciutto, medjool date, & arugula (with Gruyere on sourdough). The recipe comes from Scott Graden's NEW SCENIC CAFE COOKBOOK. If I were to choose favorite places to eat, the Scenic Cafe would be in the top five. Though I only get to eat there one or two times a year (it is located on Lake Superior's shore north of Duluth), I get to reminisce about meals by cooking recipes at home. If there were fiddlehead ferns in my yard, I would try to replicate a tomato soup we enjoyed there a few years ago. But sandwiches have been on my mind this week.

We are reading aloud Julia Sarcone Roach's new book THE BEAR ATE YOUR SANDWICH to all classes during library time. Reading the same book to all students provides me the opportunity to hear the range of comments and observations from children ages 6-11. They immediately notice the (unseen) narrator's voice, telling the sandwich owner how the bear ended up in the San Francisco park where it then smelled and devoured her delicious and excellent sandwich, leaving only a bit of lettuce. That narrator, however, somehow does not sound trustworthy; suspicions swirl as the bear's story unfurls. I will not give away the ending by telling why.

Readers ask me to turn back to the Golden Gate Bridge page, noting that the author/illustrator was smart to make the red truck the only red vehicle on the road. They like the shift in perspective as the bear makes his way from the Marin Headlands to the cliffs (city buildings). They appreciate how the bear uses things in the city (a telephone pole for scratching it's back, for instance) like he would in the forest. They find it interesting that the bear seems to take on the appearance of another creature as the story progresses. But most of all, they appreciate that narrator's voice - and its change in voice and language - at the end of the book. Oh...and they love the end papers, filled with sandwiches at the front and crumbs at the back. 

This book is a gem. The acrylic artwork is varied and beautiful. The children even noticed how the artwork tells stories apart from the text, telling me that made the book even better. I completely agree. It is my favorite picture book of the year (so far). 


  1. If you have that new cookbook, I am really, really envious. It is a work of art in itself! We, too, love to eat at the Scenic Cafe an stop whenever we are at the North Shore.

  2. love the restaurant, love the book. a delicious post, jewel.

  3. I can't wait to read it! I miss sharing books with children! It reveals so much & there is nothing like being completely focused & involved in stories and pictures!! Love your photo & your description of the food & café...Life's pleasures, accompanied by books! (or is it books, accompanied by life's pleasures?)

  4. Yes, delicious all around: book, post, food. We have hundreds of fiddleheads in our yard right now and I'd happily share them with you if you were nearby . . . xx

  5. You've hooked me! I can't wait to read that book! And I just heard about the New Scenic Cafe a few months ago, and with your recommendation, I will stop there the next time I am "up north." Thanks.