Monday, January 31, 2011

The Blueberry Pie Elf

The Blueberry Pie Elf
Written by Jane Thayer
Illustrated by Seymour Fleishman

I can not say enough good things about Purple House Press.  Apparently, I can't stop buying their books either.  Not one book out of the ten or so we have purchased has been less than enchanting.  These books are not merely good - even by my high standards.  You know that feeling you get when you bite into that first summer spoonful of Haagen-Dazs rasberry dark chocolate ice cream?  These books are way better.  And I love dark chocolate. 

Almost as much as I love blueberry pie.  And books about blueberry pie.  I must add a warning here.  Do not read this book at bedtime.  Not even if the kids beg.  I made that mistake.  Nine o'clock.  I'm dead tired, sit down to read to the kids, open this one up.  Not even three pages into it and both of the kids are begging for food.  Can't say I blame them.  The whole book made my mouth water.  After the kids ate their apples and I put them to bed, in the absense of pie, I shoveled down a stale donut.

On with the show.

Meet Elmer.

There was once an elf, named Elmer,
who lived in a house with some people.
No one knew that he lived in the house,
because no one can see an elf,
and no one can hear an elf,
and no one can feel an elf.

One day, Elmer helped the people gather berries.  Then - unseen, unfelt, unheard - "Elmer helped roll out the crust.  He watched as the berries, all covered with sugar, were tucked inside." 

And pardon me for quoting half the book, but the text is just as juicy as the pictures.
When the delicious smell
of the baking blueberry pie
stole out from the oven,
the little elf sniffed.
He wanted that blueberry pie so much
that he almost got his nose caught
in the oven door.
After the pie was done and the family had their fill, Elmer ate himself into a stupor, falling asleep in his favorite teacup.

 The next day, Elmer went to the refrigerator for another round with the blueberry pie.  But, alas, the pie was no more.  Though he knew it was in vain, he pleaded with the people.  Shouted at the top of his elfin voice.  But to no avail.  So he tried working tirelessly for the people.  Making the beds.  Washing the dishes.  Sweeping the floors.

At last, Elmer had the people's attention.  But there was still the problem of communication.  How can an elf who is unseen, unfelt, and unheard convey his deepest desire. 

Then, one day, the family pulled out baking pans, flour, and sugar. 

And apples.

Then it was pumpkin pie.  Then red cherry pie.  Though not what he wanted, Elmer decided to give it a try.  Elmer climbed inside the pan, his elfin feet slipping into the warm red syrup.  He tasted it.  Sour, sour, sour, Elmer thought.  Disappointed, Elmer climbed out of the pan, and forgetting to wipe his feet "all red with cherry juice," Elmer walked "with his slippery, sloppy" feet across the white table cloth, leaving a trail of elfin red footprints all around the pie.

This gave Elmer an idea.  A brilliant idea.  He climbed into the pan and "waded around in the cherry juice until his feet were dripping."

And then he . . .

No spoilers here, dear reader.  Follow the link to find out how Elmer's story ends.

Purple House Press

Incidentally, I am in no way affiliated with PHP.  I'm not even a blip on their radar.  But if anyone affiliated with that house of genius happens to read this, I would be willing to work for books.


  1. Well, you've sold me! I'm marginally familiar with Purple House Press because I THINK I ordered some Five in a Row titles from them a couple of years ago. I shall be perusing their website soon.

    Thanks so much for linking up to RAT! Your book reviews are a hoot! :-)

  2. This was one of my favorite books as a child. Bravo to Purple House Press for bringing it back with the original illustrations!