The Monday Poems Receive a Sugar Dusting.

Monday PoemsOn Friday, I reviewed a scrumptious, cake, and pastry-filled picture book called The Bake Shop Ghost by Jacqueline Ogburn. As promised, the poem I wrote for today is filled, like the story, with delectable delights!

Imagine opening the door to a quaint, pastry shop. A bell rings as you peek inside and swoon over the sweet smells that wrap around you. Involuntarily, your eyes close, and you inhale deeper than you’ve ever breathed in before. Slowly, you pace yourself, as you stroll from one end of the gleaming, glass case to the far end, reading each hand-lettered label beside the platters of treats. The lady in the ruffled apron holds a pink, paper box and asks, “What would you like today?”

You can’t take your eyes off of the sugared violets atop the chocolate truffles or the row of cream-filled eclairs and sugar-dusted jelly bismarcks. Your inner child answers, “I’d like everything, please.”

Welcome to The Pastry Shop.

Monday Poem - The Pastry Shop


I’d like a cookie from that bowl

and one thick slice of jelly roll.

I can’t resist those macaroons

or chocolate, crescent, frosted moons.

A molded pig from marzipan

and one small square of cherry flan.

Shortbread, cream puffs, almond rounds,

frosted cookie circus clowns.

Next, I’ll try that lemon tart,

peach-filled torte, and berry heart.

And oh! Behind that apple pie,

is that a chocolate cake I spy?

Just one bite (maybe two),

of gobs of butter frosting goo.


I wish I hadn’t seen that cake,

because now I’ve got a belly ache.

by Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

I would love it if you would share your favorite dessert in the comments or just say hello.

See you next Friday!

A Bake Shop, a Ghost, and a Surprise! This Perfect Picture Book Friday.

I learned how to bake by watching and assisting my mom and my aunt. At first, I was only allowed to sit on a tall stool near the counter, watch closely, and call out the next step or ingredient from the recipe (and sneak a small finger-full of dough). In time, I was trusted to measure out the flour or the butter and learn the art of cracking an egg one-handed. Eventually the day I waited for came.

Mom said I could choose whatever cake or batch of cookies I wanted to bake–all by myself. I’m telling you, that moment was big for me. My first cake was a two-layered, strawberry shortcake filled with fluffy, whipped cream and thin-sliced strawberries. Yes, my cake leaned precariously to one side. Yes, some of the strawberries slid downhill. Yes, my parents made a beautiful fuss, telling me how delicious it was and asked for seconds.

The point of my mini-story is that the success, or lack thereof, of that first cake, didn’t deter me from baking more cakes until I was happy with the outcome. I’m rather surprised I don’t tip the scale, considering how much I love to bake and cook.

Today’s picture book is about a vacant bakeshop, once run by the best baker in the state who created many scrumptious delicacies. The story tells the tale of different bakers who come and flee from the shop, claiming the place is haunted by the ghost of the original owner until…

One day, a spirited chef named Annie Washington arrives who is not frightened off by a few flying bags of flour or countless eggs dropped over her clean floor by a cranky ghost. If Annie wants to stay and never again be bothered by the ghost, she must fulfill a curious request. You’re, no doubt, wondering what the ghost ask Annie to do. So, to that question,

I have a special surprise for you at the end of this post. 

Title –  The Bakeshop Ghost

Author – Jacqueline Ogburn

Illustrator – Marjorie A. Priceman

Published by –  Houghton Mifflin Books – 2005

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics – Determination, friendship, and cake – Oh, yes! LOTS OF CAKE!

Opening – Miss Cora Lee Merriweather ran the best bakeshop in these parts–maybe even in the whole state! The chocolate in her Mississippi mud pie was darker than the devil’s own heart. Her sponge cake was so light the angels kept wishing it would float up to heaven. No Birthday was complete without a Merriweather layer cake without her special buttercream frosting.

Amazon Review HERECora Lee Merriweather had a lemon pucker mouth and hair scraped back into a hard little bun. Cora Lee also baked the best pies and cakes for miles. But now Cora Lee haunts the shop she used to own. When new bakers arrive to take over her empty bake shop, she scares them away. Then Annie Washington comes to town, and it seems Cora Lee has met her match.

Why I like this book— This is a story that, despite its high word count, will hold the attention of most children and delight them. In addition to the cast of colorful characters, strong plot, element of mystery, (and did I mention there’s a cake recipe on the last page?) the illustrations are off-the-charts colorful, emotional, humorous, and filled with scrumptious details.

Learn more about Jacqueline Ogburn’s books HERE.

Learn more about Marjorie A. Priceman’s books HERE.

And now for the special surprise I promised you.

I came across this lavish, short film, just over 17 minutes. that tells the story of The Bake Shop Ghost.

If you scroll down, you’ll find the comments box. Oh, how I love getting mail! I hope you’ll stop in to deliver a favorite baking memory or just say hello.

On Monday, if you visit, I’m sharing a bakery-inspired poem sure to please the most discerning sweet tooth!

I hope to see you then!

The Way to Give a Hug Today at The Monday Poems

Monday Poems

As promised in Friday’s Picture Book Review post, today’s poem takes on the famous, Welsh word for a hug. The cwtch (pronounced cutch which rhymes with butch).

Growing up, I never knew that the hugs I received from my parents could be classified as a cwtch. Their hugs wrapped me in safety, healed, and warmed me. Although both of my parents loved me dearly, it was my father who taught me the art of a good hug.

Dad worked from home, and our entire basement was set up for his  scientific laboratory. From this remarkable world of beakers, strange chemicals, and astronomical discoveries, he would come upstairs in his white, lab coat for two reasons: he needed a snack, and he needed a hug. Dad would grab a Golden Delicious apple out of the refrigerator, invite me to join him at the kitchen table, and settle in for lively conversation while he cut slice after slice. “One for me, and one for you.” Before he disappeared downstairs to work again, he’d wrap me up in a good hug. To this day, the smell of motor oil from his machinery makes my heart skip a beat. I’m serious.

Once, and only once, I commented during a hug that I had twenty more pages to read for a history assignment, and maybe it was a page of algebra problems I needed to work on when Dad hushed me.

“Leslie,” he said, “when you’re giving someone a hug, be with them at that moment. Don’t dwell on things you need to take care of. Just focus on the person you’re hugging and think about how much they mean to you.” Then, he added, “To make the hug really good, don’t let go until you have breathed in and out five times.”

When Dad hugged me, he was with me, thinking about his little girl, and I knew I meant more to him than anything anyone could ever name. I knew it more clearly when I left for college, and Dad called to talk to me at the end of each day. After we shared what we were working on and before we said goodbye, Dad would say,

“Put your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder and squeeze.”

Dad and me - small pic


We never ever missed a day without a cozy hug.

Every time he held me close, my heart could feel a tug.

“Will I always be your hug a bug? Will you always love me so?”

Dad squeezed me close and said to me, “I’m sure that you must know…

I love you from here to Pluto.

I love you more than stars.

I love you more than Jupiter.

I love you more than Mars.

The amount I love you is greater than the biggest number around.

If I could write that number down, I’m sure it would astound!

I snuggled in my Dad’s warm arms and smiled because I knew,

he needed me as much as I would always need him, too.


by Leslie Leibhardt Goodman


Before my dad passed away seven years ago, we shared a hug that lasted far longer than it takes to breathe in and out five times. While I held him, I thought about the dreams he still wanted to live, all the questions I still wanted to ask, and all the hugs I still needed to share with him.

If you ever received an unforgettable hug, hopefully the kind that falls under the title of a cwtch, I hope you’ll share it with me in the comments.

until next Monday

A Word Without Vowels that means a great deal – Today for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

For those of you who know me, this post won’t come as a surprise. You’ll probably say, “Yup! This is truly ‘Leslie’ because…

…the theme for today’s Perfect Picture Book review is about hugs.

I don’t remember the exact moment I realized the right kind of hug could fill an emotional need in me. Yes, there is a right kind and a substandard variety. More on that shortly.

Whether my day flew by perfectly or came with snags, my parents had at hug to give me, and they let me sink into it as long as I liked. Their hugs made me feel like everything in the world was right and that they would always be there for me. They called me their little hugabug.

I never cared if my dad’s clothes were covered in machine oil or sawdust. It didn’t bother me if my mom came inside from berry picking, sweaty from spending long hours in her garden. I didn’t mind if the cat padded inside after discovering every muddy puddle between the woods and our front door. “Get in these arms!”

I discovered the substandard variety the first time my parents invited friends over for coffee and cake. I received a quick embrace, a pat on my back, and an emptiness I didn’t care for. “Wait. What? Is that all I get?” It was then that I discovered a shocking truth… Some hugs aren’t magical! Don’t get me started on the A-frame variety.

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the Welsh word for a hug. Frankly, the word means quite a lot more. It actually defines the hugs I love to give and find rare to receive. And no, there are no vowels in this baby.

Cwtch (pronounced ‘kutch’, the word rhymes with ‘butch’) And, as it turns out, you can find loads of items for sale online, sporting this fabulous word!

Keep Calm and Cwtch Mug Welsh Hug or Cuddle Wales Gift Ceramic Coffee Tea Cup and  Fun Welsh Saying T-Shirt - Fancy A Cwtch - Unisex and   VinMea Wooden Hanging Sign - Cwtch (N) Hug Or Snuggle; But More Than That. Home Decor Accessory Gift Plaque Wooden Sign

So, for today’s Perfect Picture Book Review, I’m sharing the book, The Giant Hug.

Title –  The Giant Hug

Author – Sandra Horning

Illustrator – Valeri Gorbachev

Published by – Dragonfly Books – 2008

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics – sharing, hugs, kindness, love.

Opening –
“What do you want to send Granny for her birthday?” Owen’s mother asked.

“A giant hug,” Owen replied. He opened his arms as wide as he possibly could to show how giant the hug would be.

“Do you want to draw a picture of your hugging Granny?” his mother asked.

“No,” Owen said. “I want to send a real hug.”

Amazon Review HEREHow do you give your granny a hug when she lives far away? Send it through the mail, of course! This sweet story makes a perfect gift for Mother’s Day for the granny in your life, whether she lives close or far!

Owen’s hug travels across the country in a series of hilarious, sometimes awkward, always heartfelt embraces between animals of different shapes and sizes. Valeri Gorbachev’s adorable artwork pairs beautifully with Sandra Horning’s charming text, and makes for a fun, funny, and educational read-aloud. An unexpected twist at the end will delight readers and have kids asking for this book again and again.

Why I like this book— Like Owen in this book, I have friends that live too far away to hug. Owen’s solution to his problem of how to get a ‘real’ hug to his grandmother is beyond ingenious. Kids reading this story will anticipate what happens at each page turn and get a funny surprise when Owen’s hug finally reaches its destination.

Learn more about Sandra Horning HERE.

Learn more about Valeri Gorbachev HERE.

I hope to see you here on Monday when I share my cwtch-inspired poem.

I’ll also be sharing my father’s instructions to me for a good hug.

Before I sign off, I hope you’ll watch this video that is dear to my heart.

until Monday.