An A to Zed of the USA by a European Nomad – K and L


I am a linguist and logophile; I collect words like others collect works of art. I love discovering words in English or another language that somehow capture a meaning to perfection. One of my favorite American words is klutz for its onomatopoeic klout. 

If you’re awkward and clumsy, you can call yourself a klutz. If a klutz is carrying a tray of wine glasses across the kitchen, you can be sure she”ll trip over the dog and end up on the floor.

 Klutz is the Americanized version of the Yiddish klots, which means “block or lump,” and also “clumsy person or blockhead.” A related word in German is klotz, “boor, clod, or wooden block.”

And my favorite American klutz has to be good ole Charley Brown. 


Along with my love for words comes an enduring love of good food – 13 years living in France will do that to you. Well let me tell you that you have not lived a full American culinary life until you have experienced a Maine Lobster Bake. 

With butter dripping down your chin and wood smoke drifting through the air, you kick back in your deckchair and dig your toes into the sand, cold beer in hand. Meanwhile the seafood steams nearby in its bed of freshly harvested seaweed.

The New England Clam and Lobster Bakes date back to the days of the Pilgrims in Plymouth Massachusetts. Settlers witnessed Native Americans cooking clams over hot stones and seaweed and thus the New England Seafood Bake were born.

I confess to being a little squeamish and so I leave it to the pros to lower  the live lobsters into the steamer basket until they turn bright red. Don’t forget the boiled Maine corn on the cob and roasted onions that are so sweet you could save them for dessert…but you won’t because you’ll probably want a seasonal dish like strawberry shortcake when the berries are still warm from the gardens, along with some Gifford’s Ice Cream made close by in Skowhegan.

As you scarf down your lobster and corn with the setting sun, you’ll simply wish you had a back-up stomach handy. 

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Sometimes Rain – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Sometimes rain

Written by: Meg Fleming

Illustrated by: Diana Sudyka

Publisher: Beach lane Books, October 2018

Ages: 3-7

Themes: seasons, weather, wonder, exploration, 


Sometimes drizzle.
Drip-drip drain.

Sometimes picnic.
Sometimes rain.


Sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, sometimes the sun shines, and sometimes the trees change color. But no matter what the seasons bring, there is lots of fun to be had!  (Publisher)

Why I like this book:

This lyrical, and gently rhyming text invites the reader to immerse herself in the wonder and discovery of the seasons with all their temporal breadth. The pacing is subtle with both text and illustrations slowing down then speeding up the reader’s focus. So much atmosphere with so few words resulting in the timeless wonder and fun of childhood through the seasons. 

The gouache watercolor illustrations are vibrant, whimsical and pulsing with life with the diverse cast we are starting to rightly expect in our picture books. This is a book that will be a terrific group read-aloud as well as one I would select for bedtime snuggles. 


This is a great text for units on seasons/weather and rhyme. 

I might match this with Red Sings from the treetops by Joyce Sidman and A Wonderful Year by Nick Bruel.

Frost is so exquisitely illustrated by Diana Sudyka, I think I would look at some stylistic weather illustration with older children.

Copyright Diana Sudyka

This post is part of a series by authors and children’s literature bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.


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Kidlitwomen Podcast #38 – Joanna Marple

My school librarian podcast is up on the website – I offer suggestions on how to bring equality to your bookshelves! (psst! also good tips for holiday shopping). Don’t miss!

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