Edible Reading, Readable Eating

Alison Morris - March 24, 2008

I have not yet met Laura and Leo Espinosa, the duo behind Otis and Rae and the Grumbling Splunk, a new Houghton Mifflin picture book that is splashy, spunky, and almost spelunky (the characters go camping, not caving).

I have, however, snooped around on Laura and Leo’s lively website and spent time on Leo’s blog, in preparation for meeting this husband-and-wife team at next weekend’s Belmont Children’s Picture Book Festival organized by author Melissa Stewart.

There’s lots of fun stuff on Leo’s blog, including some fantastic sketches, but what really rocked my socks was this: A FRANNY K. STEIN BIRTHDAY CAKE!!

Franny is the wacky mad scientist star of the Franny K. Stein series by Jim Benton, which just happens to be a hit with lots of first through third graders and a few older kids too (e.g. the person writing this blog). Part of the reason I dig Franny so is that boys love her. Did you catch that? BOYS love this series of books about a GIRL. How I wish that wasn’t such a rare thing! And how glad I am that at least some gals like Franny are helping to bridge that aggravating gender gap. (While messing about with chemistry sets, no less.)

In any case, apparently Leo’s son Ben is one of Franny’s many boy fans, hence the reason he wanted a Franny cake for his birthday. And what a cake! I’m not sure when I’ve seen a better home-baked likeness.

Paired with last week’s post about the birthday cake our store got for Pete, our receiver, I realize I seem to be running with a cake theme these days. By coincidence my timing is perfect! The annual Edible Book Festival falls on (or about) April 1st every year. That means it’s time to fire up your mixers, folks!

A few of last year’s entries that tie in with spring and the holidays:

The Bake Way for Ducklings entry in the 2006 University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies Edible Books Festival:

And the Passover Haggadah created by Gene Epstein for the 2007 Edible Books Festival at Loganberry Books in Cleveland, OH:

Have you hosted one of these events at your store or library? And if so, was it a hit? I’m thinking our store ought to get on this bandwagon in future years. And that we should invite Leo and Laura Espinosa to participate!

2 thoughts on “Edible Reading, Readable Eating

  1. Jim Benton

    Thanks for the post on Laura and Leo Espinosa, and their very cool Franny K Stein cake. Not only do they make cakes featuring my favorite little girl mad scientist, I think their stories and art are crazy great.

  2. Erica Perl

    Hi Alison, I love the book-cake theme. I actually threw a 4th birthday party last summer and based the whole thing on David Gavril’s book Penelope Nuthatch and the Big Surprise. I confess that I punted on the cake part, though, and just did one in the shape of a mermaid (the book concerns Penelope’s visit to a water park). Next time, I’m going book cake all the way!


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