Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Kate McMullan - January 16

Happy Birthday Kate McMullan - January 16

Are you ready for another year of celebrating the birthdays of children's picture book authors and illustrators with our family?

We hope so!

This post marks the beginning of our 5th year of celebrating at Happy Birthday Author!!

If you have only been with us for a short while then you may not know that our family has been celebrating children's author and illustrator birthdays ever since the day I stumbled upon the birthday of Kate McMullan, the author of I Stink.  I was rummaging through old file folders full of lesson plans and author birthday calendars from my days as a fourth grade special education teacher.  That night, after dinner, I needed an activity to do with my children before bedtime.  I found a cake mix in the cupboard and told them that we were going bake a cake and decorate it like the garbage truck from I Stink!

I never thought that a cake mix would change my life, but it did! My family has now celebrated over 210 children's author and illustrator birthdays. Each one has been its own unique experience. (Check out our new author and illustrator birthday calendar with links to all our past celebrations!) We have read thousands of picture books and most of them more than once. (Check out our new How-To Guide to learn more about how our family celebrates.) In the past year we were to able to learn many new birthdays by meeting authors and illustrators at the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. and at Mazza Museum: International Art from Picture Books in Findlay, Ohio which will help us continue to bring you more ways to experience picture books in your home as a family, in your classroom with your students, or at your library with your young readers.

By the looks of the photos below, you will certainly see that we are ready for another year of celebrating!  I would love for you to share our blog with your friends.  They can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, and Learnist. (Oh, there is an email option, too -- sign up is on the left side of this page!)

Each year since the I Stink cake my six-year-old son has made a cake based on a book by Kate McMullan (...and Jim McMullan) to celebrate her birthday.  Below are pictures of him and each cake, including this year's BIG AND BAD cake.  If you keep reading you will find out how my son created this cake and what new books Kate McMullan is working on that will be inspiration for future birthday cakes!

My son gets so excited each year to bake and decorate his Kate McMullan cake. This year, he started planning all on his own at school.  During free time, he drew a sketch of the BIG Sauropod from I'm Big!. He brought the sketch home and told me, "This is what I want to put on the cake."

Before we began our cake decorating, we took a moment to show his little brother all the cakes that we have baked and decorated in the past.

We showed him pictures from last year's blog post.
While the ingredients were being added to the mixing bowl, we talked about Kate McMullan's other dinosaur book, I'm Bad. We decided that we would make one cake to highlight both books.  My son said, "That's okay, because next year we are going to do I'm Brave." 

I'm Brave is scheduled to be released in September 2014 and will feature a bright red fire truck! Below is a picture of the front cover that Kate McMullan posted on her Facebook page (Follow her page to keep up to date with all her book news.)!

After the decision was made to feature both books, the boys worked together to crack the eggs!
My three-year-old son was so happy to be included in the celebration!
We reread I'm Big and I'm Bad while the cake baked in the oven.
I decided that since my son had the initiative to sketch his plan for the cake that I would only help when he asked. In the past, I did most of the decorating while he added the small details.
Once my son had all the white icing he needed for the top of his cake his brother enjoyed licking the mixing whisk!
Now, it was time to get serious. He put on his pirate chef hat and apron to sketch his dinosaur with a toothpick into the white icing.
His brother prepared the colored icing while wearing his pirate chef hat.

He asked for help adding a black outline to his sketches.
He squeezed lots of colored icing on to the dinosaurs. Then, we used toothpicks to push the icing exactly where we wanted it. (I am sure there is an easier way to do this, but we worked with the materials we had.)
He wrote the words BIG and BAD on the cake.
Then, he added grass with green icing.
His 5th cake celebrating the books and the birthday of Kate McMullan!
He was so happy with the final outcome!
Then the whole family enjoyed eating the delicious cake!
...and boy, was it good!
This week Kate McMullan posted on Facebook an update of the next book after I'm Brave which will be I'm Cool! The star of the this book will be a Zamboni! It is scheduled for release in Fall 2015.  I said to my son after I shared this news with him, "You will be eight years old when we make a cake for this book."  He replied, "And I am still going to want to do it."  Now that's COOL!

Check out Kate McMullan's Myth-o-Mania series with her new book, HIT THE ROAD, HELEN:


2. Kate McMullan's Facebook Page
3. Other Happy Birthday Kate McMullan Posts - Happy Birthday Author
5. Text Interview - Cathy's Thoughts Blog (2010), Library Media Connection (2012)
6. Audio Interview - Just One More Book (2007)
7. Just One More Book (2006) Podcast about Nutcracker Noel by Kate and Jim McMullan
9. I'm Dirty Book Trailer
10. I'm Fast Book Trailer  -YouTube
10. Kate McMullan writes about I Stink (if you like this book, THIS IS A MUST READ!)- Harpercollins
11.  Buy Kate McMullan Merchandise - CafePress
12. Kate McMullan Biography - Scholastic
13. Kate McMullan Talks Myth-O-Mania with Sag Harbor Express (September 2013)
14. Kate and Jim McMullan at SouthHampton Arts 2013 - YouTube

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