This bittersweet and nimbly-illustrated tale of a wise girl
whose bird-brained father attempts to rise above earthly sorrow will lift the
spirits of readers young and old.
Bird-men interest David Almond. His celebrated and award-winning debut novel, Skellig, concerns a boy's discovery of a winged man-creature languishing in the derelict garage of his new house. The boy and a bird-loving neighbor befriend, protect and fortify the birdman with ale and Chinese food while the boy's infant sister hovers near death in the hospital.
In this, Almond's first book for young readers, grief weighs so heavily on Lizzie's widowed father that she has assumed the role of caretaker. Lizzie discovers the only thing that engages and enlivens her father is an upcoming human flight competition. A disheveled Daedalus imprisoned in a maze of sorrow, he's lovingly constructed bird-...
Lizzie's Aunt Doreen specializes in leaden but delicious suet dumplings. The BBC offers this authentically down to earth British recipe:
8oz plain flour
4oz shredded suet
3oz fine white breadcrumbs
2 tsp parsley, chopped
2 tsp chives, chopped
salt and freshly ground white pepper
17oz beef stock
Combine the first five ingredients, mixing well. Work to a paste with cold beef stock, adding just enough to bind all the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining beef stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Shape the paste into ¾ inch dumplings and drop them into boiling beef stock. Cook until light and puffed up. This should take about 30 minutes.
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