Check out the cover art for the Japanese version of PIE! it always makes me happy when I see details from the story included in the art. I'm especially pleased with Aunt Polly's leopard print apron and Lardo's sardine. Not to mention that declicious looking pie!
(Click on an image to seen the enlargement)
You might enjoy reading this post I wrote for the Engage/Teacher to Teacher BLOG hosted by the International Reading Association. It was an honor to be asked, and I was glad to have an opportunity to write about my experiences doing Author Visits.
The reviews are in!
Kirkus (starred) What do you get when you take some scrumptious pie recipes, stir in a mix-up of a mystery involving an overweight cat and a legacy, then add a sly satirical nod to the Newbery Medal? This irresistible confection.
In 1955, 10-year-old Alices beloved Aunt Polly, the peerless Pie Queen of Ipswitch, who has always given away the extraordinary products of her oven simply because it makes her happy, dies. She bequeaths her incomparable piecrust recipe to Lardo, her cator does she?and leaves Lardo to Alice. Thus the stage is set for a rich, layered and funny tale about friendship, family relationships and doing whats right. The characters are wonderfully drawn. While doing her best to carry on Aunt Pollys legacy, trying to figure out how to wrest the secret from the cat, dealing with a nefarious woman poking around town and learning about the renowned Blueberry Medal, which everyone in town is trying to win, Alice draws closer to her mom, a resolution Aunt Polly would have cherished. Alice and her family eventually discover the solution to the mystery in a plot twist that is both comical and plausible. An epilogue, set in 1995, is deeply poignant and gratifying. In addition to the beautifully wrought story, readers will savor and want to attempt the 14 recipes, each of which precedes a chapter.
Warm, delicious and filling.
School Library Journal (starred)
Gr 4-6–In the 1950s, the small town of Ipswitch, PA, is famous due to the proprietor of Pie, who gives her wares away rather than selling them. Polly Portman, 13-time winner of the coveted Blueberry Medal, knows everyone’s favorites and keeps meticulous notes for each filling, but not the crust. That recipe is in her head. She also lavishes love and attention on her niece, Alice, an only child who can never please her mother. So when Polly Portman dies unexpectedly, the town is bereft. Many selfishly wonder where they are going to get their pie fix, and some wonder what will happen to the tourist industry that was built around Polly’s fame. Alice cries for two days and “felt like a slice of Swiss cheese inside, all limp and full of holes.” At the reading of her aunt’s will, she learns that Polly left her piecrust recipe to her fat, grumpy cat, Lardo, and that she left Lardo to Alice. It isn’t long before the animal is catnapped, the bakery is trashed, and Blueberry Medal fever hits Ipswitch. Someone wants Aunt Polly’s piecrust recipe badly. With the aid of Charlie, a newfound friend, Alice sets out to get to the bottom of the mystery. Weeks deftly leavens moments of hilarity with the process of grieving in this sweet coming-of-age story in which Alicelearns from Aunt Polly to follow her heart and to open it as well. Readers will close the book with a satisfied sigh and may seek out an adult to help them bake a pie. Recipes included, but not for the crust.–Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ
The story opens with 10-year-old Alice at the deathbed of her beloved aunt Polly, a wise but humble woman and a talented baker, known for giving away wonderful pies to all who visited her shop. How wonderful? Polly had won the Blueberry Medal, “the most coveted award in the field of pie baking,” an unprecedented 13 times. After Polly’s death, Alice inherits her aunt’s grumpy, obese cat. When he disappears and Polly’s shop is ransacked, Alice and her dependable pal Charlie attempt to solve the mystery. Set in 1955 and drawn in rather broad strokes, the story captures the spirit of a simpler, more innocent time. Weeks dramatizes the moral with unusual directness, showing that happiness arises from using one’s talents well. Even for readers who don’t catch the Blueberry/Newbery parallel, this enjoyable chapter book is a real charmer—with delicious-looking pie recipes opening every chapter!
— Carolyn Phelan
Richie Partington (Richiespicks.com)
"PIE, set in Ipswitch during the summer of 1955, is a high-spirited, hoot of a whodunit for upper elementary and middle school readers. This tale is going to inspire a mess of pie baking in your neck of the woods...Those who are familiar with a certain famous and esteemed children's literature award are going to get quite a belly laugh out of reading the history and details of the national pie making award that Polly wins an unprecedented thirteen times in a row. And as sure as life imitates art, I bet that there will be a passel of people dishing about PIE when the year-end lists are being compiled."
SOPHIE PETERMAN TELLS THE TRUTH
SOPHIE scores points with North Dakota kids!!!! The North Dakota Library Association has announced that Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth, has won the NDLA Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award in the picture book category. I'll be flying off to Minot, ND to accept the award in person this fall.
Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth (Beach Lane Books, 2009)
“Weeks has created a feisty, forthright protagonist who lays out the pros and cons of a new brother with delightful tongue-in-cheek detail. The ink and digitally colored illustrations and boldface words in the text perfectly catch the narrative nuances and enhance it with cheeky perspectives and funny touches. Older siblings will laugh at the younger child's antics and parents will chortle at Sophie's reactions and perspective in all her righteous truth telling.”
—SLJ (starred review)