Baking Day at Grandma’s is a picture book bundled in love, warmth, and thoughtfulness. At its core, it speaks to a family (grandma and her grand cubs) spending quality time together. Not only is Anika Denise’s text a pitch-perfect rhyme—and one that makes you want to clap along (and bake a cake) with the charming bears—Christopher Denise’s illustrations are enchanting. The cover, with light streaming in through the kitchen window, immediately pulls you into the scene. You want to join the bear family, stir batter, sip hot cocoa on a snowy day, and dance to an old-fashioned record player while chocolate cake bakes, all in the company of a loving and adoring grandma bear, who happens to be modeled after Anika’s grandmother Rose. This is the highlight for me, and why Baking Day at Grandma’s is quickly becoming a favorite with my grandkids. The book even includes a recipe for Grandma Rose’s chocolate cake!
I get emotional over heartfelt picture books, and Baking Day at Grandma’s is one of those books. It’s a perfect text-to-illustration match. The singsong rhythm of Anika’s words, coupled with bears that take on humanlike qualities in their movement and expressions, make this a picture book winner. A true talent of NYT’s bestselling illustrator Christopher Denise is how he brings woodland animals to life. They almost feel real. Clearly, these bears adore each other, and the artwork of their hellos and goodbyes is especially heartwarming. To learn more about how Baking Day at Grandma’s evolved, watch this endearing book trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZTRFELt9-0 Anika also offers a little Activity Kit on her website. Download for free here: http://www.anikadenise.com/free-goodies/
The Providence Journal recently featured Anika and Christopher in a lovely must-read article. Learn more about this talented duo by clicking on the link. http://www.providencejournal.com/writers/gail-ciampa/20141001-charming-book-by-barrington-couple-has-its-heart-in-the-kitchen.ece
As someone who works at an old-fashioned toy store, I see a lot of grandparents. Too often, they arrive at Mystic’s Toy Soldier clutching detailed Christmas or Hanukkah lists, the I-only-want-this-specific-electronic-toy/game kind of list. I see the frustration and stress that comes along with this. Ultimately, we have lost the true meaning of holidays. Long lists of electronic games only encourage further isolation, and that is not what kids need. They need one-on-one attention. They need the TV off, electronic devices put away in drawers, and they need present adults without a cell phone at the ready. Children need to bake cakes and dance in the kitchen with their grandmas, or with their mothers, their fathers, and their grandfathers. With the support and encouragement of loved ones, children also need to know they can make a difference in this world by doing things for others. In Baking Day at Grandma’s, the bear cubs wrap up individual pieces of cake to give away as gifts. They do get to lick batter off the wooden spoon, which is always been my favorite part of cake baking.
Anika and Christopher Denise are some of the nicest people I know. And this weekend, at the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair, you can meet both of them! In addition to giving a joint presentation, Anika and Chris will also be signing copies of their collaborated books, which include Pigs Love Potatoes, and Bella and Stella Come Home. I could go on and on about why I love these books, too. In addition, Christopher has illustrated a multitude of books by other authors, including Rosemary Wells, and Brian Jacques.
If you are unable to attend this weekend’s Connecticut Book Fair, you can still get a signed copy by contacting Barrington Books, a fabulous independent bookstore in the town where Anika and Christopher live.
Want to win a signed copy of Baking Day at Grandma’s? To enter the drawing, please comment on this post and share your favorite memory of quality time with either your grandchildren or your grandmother. The drawing will be held on Tuesday, November 11. In addition to a signed copy of Baking Day at Grandma’s, the winner will also receive eight baking day gift tags!
19 thoughts on “Baking Day at Grandma’s Is a Winner in More Ways Than One”
I couldn’t agree more! Wrap up this book with a spoon, bowl and oven mitt for a delightful gift pack. Those grandkids will never miss that electronic doo-dad!
Yes, Cathy! Great idea.
This is a lovely blog entry, Betsy. I especially agree with your conclusion about ways we become isolated and miss the joy of human interaction. I don’t think there’s anything sadder than a child sitting in a room with a parent or grandparent — both on their individual electronic devices.
As for a favorite memory … I have many. One involves baking with my oldest granddaughter … and watching her surprise when she succeeded (after a few failures) in breaking an egg into a bowl. I just wish you’d been there to capture her triumph with your camera!
I love your memory, Sally! I’ll have to take pictures of Landon and Ava breaking eggs into a bowl. Thanks for sharing.
I can’t wait to check this book out. My Grandmother was a saint, but she wasn’t a baker or a cook. I do remember that she whipped up her own whipped creme to put on her special bakery bought pies. She was a gem. Thanks for reminding me.
Homemade whipped cream is the best, as is a gem of a grandmother. Thanks for sharing your memory!
Unfortunately I do not have baking skills, but what I love more than anything is snuggling with books and my grandchildren. I was a teacher of young children for 33 years and reading them the beautiful classics was also the best part of my career. The Baking Day book looks beautiful!
Thank you for being a teacher, Vicki!
Snuggling with books and grandchildren is as magical as baking with them. I am so happy to hear that you shared beautiful classics with your kids.
I can’t wait to get Baking Day at Grandma’s. I had wonderful times with my grandmas. Now I am making memories with my grandsons. Thanks for reminding me of those precious times.
Aren’t grandsons fun! I love mine.
Thanks for stopping by, Ali, and keep making those wonderful memories. Kids remember the quality time you spend with them.
I remember making pierogies with my grandmother, we called her ‘namie’. She had lots of patience trying to teach me how to punch and twist the ends of those togetherNow I love making memories with my grand daughter, Ella. We both have aprons that have kitty cats on them and she always points that out to me. I hope I have as much patience with her as my gran mother had with me!!
Thanks for sharing this wonderful memory, Carol!
I was just thinking about the time when my Grandmother and I would bake together. We would make peanut butter cookies made with Skippy peanut butter. Good memories!
Yummy memories, Kate! Thanks for sharing.
Betsy, This sounds like a wonderful book. One of my best memories of my grandparents was when they, along with my aunt and uncle, took me to the beach. It was a big deal and they wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t for me. And the best part were the swimsuits. I don’t think those swimsuits had been taken out of the closet since the 20s. It was a really special day.
Lovely memory, Robin. Thanks for making me smile.
I’m so happy for Anika and wish her much success. I remember my great grandma always had a treasure drawer for us to look In. It had an old lipstick in a fancy metal case, a pop up cup that looked like a flower pot, a pair of binoculars, one of those plastic folded hats for if it rained, and so much more. It was always so much fun to see what was in that drawer :0)
What fun, Aileen! I love that your great grandma had a treasure drawer for you to look in.
The winner of the drawing is Ali Pichardo. Congratulations, Ali!