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Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Eugene Yelchin - October 18

Happy Birthday, Eugene Yelchin - October 18

Yesterday I received confirmation from the Mazza Museum that I am registered for their upcoming weekend conference. (I am really excited!!) Last year was the first time that I attended the Weekend Conference and I LOVED IT! It was intense; 5 artists gave keynotes in one day! Afterward I was mentally exhausted but I was thrilled to meet such amazing authors and illustrators; John Rocco, Robin Preiss Glasser, Patricia Polacco, John Bemelmans Marciano, Will Hillenbrand, and Eugene Yelchin (pictured below, second from the left).

I love the photo above of all the artists and their phones. After the conference, Eugene Yelchin posted the second photo on his Facebook page of the audience (a.k.a. picture book paparazzi; me included!) from his point of view.

If you are a teacher, librarian, or children's book lover and you live in the Ohio area I encourage you to sign up for this year's weekend conference,  November 7-8. The Mazza Museum is still accepting registration applications!! (Click HERE!)

Eugene Yelchin has published over a dozen books for children including Won Ton by Lee Wardlow and Dog Parade by Barbara Joosse. At the Mazza Museum Weekend Conference 2013 he spoke of his childhood in the Soviet Union, "When I was around five years old I drew under a table with a pencil when everyone was asleep. It made me feel safe." In Publishers Weekly Yelchin he said, "On the one hand living in communist Russia was brutal, scary, drab, absurd. But at the same time we had the best classical music, the best literature, ballet, art. And I was exposed to the arts at a very early age." At age nine, Yelchin started making his own books and then after high school he went to the Academy of Theater Arts in St. Petersburg where he learned to design costumes and sets for stage productions. He struggled with being an artist in the Soviet Union, "An artist wants to recreate reality, looking for truth of life. We were not allowed to be truthful." He felt "rage daily" and "had to leave" to pursue a life as an artist. Yelchin came to the United States the age of 27.

Upon arriving, Yelchin began illustrating for the Boston Globe which lead to many other projects including designing polar bears for Coca-Cola advertisements. ( In 2006, he received the Tomie dePaola SCBWI illustration award and later published his first picture book The House of a Million Pets by Ann Hodgman (2007). He also developed characters for the 2011 animated film, RangoIn 2012, the same year Rango won an Oscar, Yelchin was awarded the Newbery Honor Award for Breaking Stalin's Nose, a book he wrote more for himself as a "self-examination" than to get publishedHis latest book, Arcady's Goala companion to Breaking Stalin's Nose, was just released this week! His next picture book is Won Ton and Chopstick scheduled to be released in March 2015.

I chose Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? by Karen Beaumont as the picture book for our birthday celebration for Eugene Yelchin. I knew it would be the perfect read-aloud to entertain the whole family.

Who ate all of Kangaroo's cookie dough? Was it lion or zebra or llama or hippo?  No...then it must be monkey. No, it wasn't monkey. Then, who was it?  (You will have to read the book to find out.) Until then, you can read the rest of this post to find out how my family ate all the cookie dough we made!

Here is our recipe:

Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? Cookie Dough

Recipe Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour (toasted) -- click here for directions on how to toast flour
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Cream butter and brown sugar together.
2. Add vanilla and salt. Then, mix.
3. Add flour and mix.
4. Add milk and mix.
5. Fold in chocolate chips.

Cookie dough will be soft. Scoop and serve over vanilla ice cream! The cookie dough will get hard after storing in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature to soften.

(Note: There are many worries about consuming raw cookie dough. This recipe does not include eggs and we toasted the flour. I can't imagine anyone getting sick consuming this cookie dough, unless you consume all of it!)

I toasted the flour over medium heat for about eight minutes.  It started to brown a little bit. I did this because I really didn't want any sick kiddos! I read somewhere that eating raw flour could make someone sick. I am sure the cookie dough would have been fine without this step, but I am always cautious. It is funny that when I was a kid I ate lots of raw cookie dough before the cookies were baked. My aunt used to keep cookie dough in the refrigerator just to snack on! However, I must say, "Please consume cookie dough at your own risk!"
This was our family's evening activity one night this week after dinner.
When we opened the book we noticed an illustration by Eugene Yelchin of the ingredients used to make cookie dough. We double checked to make sure we had everything. My son said, "Yes, we have butter!"
Spoiler Alert....this photo may give away who ate all the cookie dough.
My oldest daughter may some day regret getting this excited about opening the butter wrapper. 
Who Ate All the Chocolate Chips? would be a great sequel to the book!
There were many helping hands in the kitchen.  My son added the toasted flour to the mixing bowl.
My children couldn't wait to eat the cookie dough. I never let them eat raw cookie dough. This was a special treat!
I added a scoop of cookie dough on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was delicious!
We highly recommend this book and this cookie dough treat! Enjoy!
Check out Eugene Yelchin's spooky ghost book, Ghost Files: the Haunting Truth, a lift-the-flap book for older readers:

1. Eugene Yelchin's Website
2. Eugene Yelchin's art website
3. Follow Eugene Yelchin on Facebook and Twitter
4. Audio Interview - Let's Get Busy Podcast (10/14),
5. Video Interview - 5 Questions Horn Book on YouTube,
6. Text Interview - HarperCollins, WGRCLC blog, American Jewish University, SCBWI Blog
7.  Teacher's Guide - Arcady's Goal (From Macmillan), Won Ton (From Lee Wardlow)
8.  Discussion Guide - Breaking Stalin's Nose (From Macmillan)

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