cover image How to Bake an American Pie

How to Bake an American Pie

Karma Wilson, , illus. by Raúl Colón. . S&S/McElderry, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86506-0

Wilson’s (Bear Snores On ) metaphorical tale serves up a stirring if sometimes syrupy recipe for American pie, “first ever made on the Fourth of July.” The bakers, a toque-wearing dog and cat, first follow instructions to “Preheat the world until fiery hot with a hunger and thirst to be free,” then place the steaming globe into “a giant melting pot on the shores of a great shining sea.” Featuring type of varying size, the rhythmic rhymed verse draws from familiar songs and documents to deliver the creative culinary directives, among them: “Pat out a crust of fruited plains, then spread it as far as you dare. Fold in some fields of amber grains, enough for all people to share.” Other items added to the increasingly full pot are “purple mountain majesties,” “cupfuls of courage,” “sweet freedom for all” and “secret ingredients” borrowed “from Heaven above. The key to it all is to pour in the pot plenty of faith, hope, and love.” Colón’s (Roberto Clemente ) inventive, etching-like ink and watercolor art contains more than a soupçon of surrealism and cleverly incorporates images of historical events, symbols and monuments. A crust rolled from “spacious skies” covers the expansive pie, which, when finally baked, is topped with images of the American flag and a handful of familiar landmarks. Deftly blended graphics and lyrics concoct a patriotic read-aloud to savor at any time of the year. Ages 4-8. (May)