Cover image for Blue Bowl Down
Blue Bowl Down
Millen, C. M.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA. : Candlewick Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Rhyming text reveals the process of preparing bread dough in the evening while the stove is still warm so that it will rise overnight, ready to bake into loaves before the family awakens the next morning.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.8 0.5 78223.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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This collage book is about the simple pleasures in family rituals. The sun is about to set, it's almost time for bed and for the family in this cosy farmhouse, it's the perfect time to start making bread. In the morning it's time to enjoy a warm, delicious breakfast and a new day.

Author Notes

C. M. Millen is the author of THE LOW-DOWN LAUNDY LINE BLUES, illustrated by Christine Davenier, and A SYMPHONY FOR THE SHEEP, illustrated by Mary Azarian. She says, "I love the sounds and rhythms of words, and how they add so much to a story. Regular visits to my ancestral Ireland, where words are cherished, provide much inspiration, as does the love of my large family and good friends."

Holly Meade is the author and illustrator of A PLACE TO SLEEP, and has illustrated many acclaimed books for children, including ON MORNING WINGS by Reeve Lindbergh, BOSS OF THE PLAINS: THE HAT THAT WON THE WEST by Laurie Carlson, and HUSH! A THAI LULLABY by Minfong Ho, which was a Caldecott Honor Book. She says, "To be loved, to belong, and to feel needed are the desires of all children. We all know the soil where these wonderful feelings are planted: in the home, in the everyday -- in the making of bread. This warm and poetic story beautifully reminds us of these truths."

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 1. Cozy as a cabin warmed by a wood-burning stove, this lullaby was inspired, as Millen explains in an endnote, by the evening bread-making ritual that was traditional in more rustic times. Meade, who won the Caldecott Honor for Hush! A Thai Lullaby (1996), interprets Millen's soothing text (Shake the flour, little baby. Scoop a handful from the bin. / Shake it out and stir it in. ) with appealing cut-paper artwork of a mother guiding her rosy-cheeked toddler through the steps of the process--hauling water from the well, mixing the dough, kneading it, and setting it to rise. Though sometimes Millen's syntax may leave readers unfamiliar with Appalachian dialects fumbling to catch the rhythm, the wholesome comforts of hearth and home evoked by text and art are universal: Sleep you kindly, little baby. Sleep you kindly, little baby. Dream the rising of the bread. The only thing missing is that inimitable aroma--but, perhaps, not for long, as this will have families inaugurating bread-baking rituals of their own. Endpapers reminiscent of blue-and-white speckled graniteware are the perfect finishing touch. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

As the sun sets in the Appalachian mountains, a redheaded toddler takes down a big blue bowl from the shelf and joins his mother in a time-honored evening tradition: making the bread dough, so it can rise overnight and be ready for baking early the next morning. Millen's (A Symphony for the Sheep) verse brings to mind the plaintive lilt and incantatory repetition of a lullaby: "Light the lantern, little baby./ Light the lantern, little baby./ Strike the match upon the stove./ Light the wick and make it glow/ on the blue bowl, little baby." Meade (A Place to Sleep) composes her watercolor and collage pictures from simple shapes and soft, earthy hues, gently stylizing her characters and setting to give them a comforting, homespun feel. She lyrically captures the sensations, choreography and emotional investment that go into the task: the white cascade of flour from a sifter, the concerted effort by the toddler to knead the dough (the musculature under his baby fat seems almost palpable), the shooing away of the inquisitive cat. Readers will easily imagine the sound of crickets serenading the night or the aroma of the freshly baked bread welcoming the toddler at breakfast time. Ages 2-5. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-A toddler and his mother make bread together in a blue bowl as their evening activity. The sense of place is seen through Meade's evocative watercolor-and-collage illustrations, not through Millen's text-"Light the lantern, little baby./Light the lantern, little baby./Strike the match upon the stove." It is clear that the house is rural, has a wood stove and no running water or electricity, but the process of making bread will remain a mystery to young listeners. What does come through in the lullaby rhyme and charming artwork are the joy and delicious rewards of working together. Cynthia Rylant's When I Was Young in the Mountains (Dutton, 1982) or Appalachia (Harcourt, 1991) have richer Appalachian cadences. For a celebration of bread making, taste David and Phillis Gershator's Bread Is for Eating (Holt, 1995).-Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.