Chicken Soup With Rice

May 13, 2012 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary) (, , , , , , , , , , )

For those of you who haven’t heard, or aren’t book fanatics, Maurice Sendak died last week.

Tributes have been popping up all over the internet.

Neil Gaiman had this to say. (As always, click on the link to access – a new tab should open up).

Jezebel has a clip from an HBO documentary that made me cry.

Shelf Check, Para Abnormal and Samuel Snoek-Brown all created Art around the phrase “We’ll Eat You Up”!

Emily Lloyd, at Shelf Check, is a librarian and along with a drawing and some great video links, posted the following:

Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, ‘Dear Jim: I loved your card.’ Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, ‘Jim loved your card so much he ate it.’ That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it. –Maurice Sendak

What is this urge to take into ourselves that which moves our heart so?

My first encounter with Maurice Sendak’s drawings was through Ruth Krauss’ book A Hole is to Dig. It is a book of definitions.

Accurate, fun definitions that are better delineated than in any other dictionary. I was about seven when I read this book and decades later remembering it brings a smile.

After all, Toes are to dance on and Dishes are to do. I knew that then and I know that now; fun and chores are different. As a child, I spent a good portion of my time walking on my tippy-toes and wanting to be a ballerina.

Everybody, of course, knows about his book Where the Wild Things Are with scary wild things with their terrible yellow eyes.

However, my favorite Sendak book is Chicken Soup With Rice.

Chicken soup with rice is comfort food.

Comfort Food. Two words that encompass a world of meanings.

Anyone can make some sort of comfort food. Food that calms and quiets the soul when one is sick or homesick or home sick alone yearning for comfort.

Even I, a practical cook, can make chicken soup. When I say I am a practical cook, I mean I know enough to feed myself but I’m terrible at fancy or anything that I have to pay attention to. I’m best when I can pop something in the oven or let it simmer, like chili or soup or meat & potatoes.

For chicken soup with rice, all you need is cooked chicken (buy it cooked already from the store), water, salt, and cooked rice (really, really easy to do. Honest!) Put it all in a pot and simmer until it smells like home and then enjoy.

As you eat, read Chicken Soup With Rice: A Book of Months.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll read your birthday month first.

In April I will go away
To far off Spain or old Bombay
And dream about hot soup all day
Oh, my, oh, once, oh, my, oh, twice
Oh, my, oh, chicken soup with rice

From there, I’ll read about my second favorite month: October. I love the Fall and Halloween.

In October I’ll be host
To witches, goblins and a ghost
I’ll serve them chicken soup on toast
Whoopy once, whoopy twice
Whoopy chicken soup with rice

After that, I’ll go back to January and sip my chicken soup with rice as I explore the various ways Mr. Sendak enjoys his own chicken soup with rice.

He sips it on ice, shares some with a snowman, the wind, a robin, roses, fish, a cooking pot, a crocodile, and a whale.

I told you once, I told you twice
All seasons of the year are nice
For eating chicken soup with rice!

Here are some chicken soup activities to explore when you are home sick.

Farewell Mr. Sendak.

Thank you for holes and monsters and chicken soup with rice.

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