Learn about diner lingo at Grange’s Little Free Library

Monday Munch menus at the Charlotte Senior Center for Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 are still undecided. But the volunteer cooks will soon make their choices, and you can access menus.

Charlotte is fortunate to have a wonderful children’s section at the library. Thanks to a generous donation from the Charlotte Senior Center board and generous discounts from The Flying Pig bookstore, the Little Free Library at the Grange offers a place where children can find a book to take home — and keep it if they want. Or they can bring it back and choose another one.

With food in mind, we’re adding the delightful “Frank and Ernest” to the Little Free Library at the Grange. In this classic tale, that’s informative as well as fun, an elephant named Frank and a bear named Ernest become the unlikely proprietors of Mrs. Miller’s, where they learn the mysterious lingo of old-fashioned diners.

Ernest waits on a customer, who says, “I’ll take the pancakes with maple syrup and coffee with cream and sugar.”

With Frank standing at the griddle, Earnest tells him, “A stack with Vermont and a blonde with sand.”

The two also serve up a hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion and a piece of apple pie and a glass of milk. You’ll have to read the book for the translation of that one. Plus, lots more.

With wonderful illustrations by Alexandra Day, this playful romp gets kids thinking about language, metaphor and word play.

Another fun addition to the Little Free Library at the Grange is “How Do You Wokka-Wokka?” by a contributor to this book project, The Flying Pig’s own Elizabeth Bluemle. Filled with fun phrases, it advises, “Hey, let’s wokka-wokka, shimmy-shake and shocka-shocka! Everybody dance now in your shiny shoes and socka-socka.”

Fun-filled advice for kids, and adults, too: Strut your stuff and celebrate your uniqueness: “Nobody wokkas in the same wokka way. It’s a wokka-wokka party each and every wokka day.”

With Vermont in mind, it seems very fitting to add “Rikki -Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling with wonderful illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. Kipling was born in Bombay and educated in Britain, calling the house there where he boarded and was treated harshly The House of Desolation. He traveled a lot and settled for a time near Brattleboro where, from December to April, with snow up to the window sill, he worked on “The Jungle Book,” which includes “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

Enjoy this book with children knowing that Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907, the first English-language writer to receive it. And, at age 41, the youngest.

Remember: Experts will tell you that reading aloud to children should start at their birth. So start with “Moo, Baa, La La La!” by Sandra Boynton on day one. We’ve enjoyed Boynton’s greeting cards for years, and now she’s proving to be multi-talented. In December, the CBS Morning Show offered a fun tribute to Boynton: The Queen of Cards.

I was very pleased to note that she paid tribute to her father Bob Boynton, a respected teacher and then a book publisher. He was a wonderful writing mentor to me. I used to go to National Council of Teachers of English conventions just to hang around his book booth in the convention hall, knowing that the most fascinating people at the convention hung out there. I delight in seeing his exuberance and joy exhibited in his daughter’s books.

Remembering that this is a column about good food, we note that feature editor of the Yale humor magazine as well as New Yorker cartoonist and writer-illustrator of over 100 children’s books, James Stevenson, offers short, fun poems in “Corn Fed.” One recipe instructs: Take 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 cup of baking powder, ¾ cup of chunky salsa … and add 10 more items, including cocoa, soy sauce and thyme. After simmering for two hours, you end up with something that cookbook recipes never admit: a concoction that “still won’t taste very good.”

At the Little Free Library older readers will find plenty of books, too: mysteries, graphic novels, sports, nonfiction. All ages are sure to enjoy “The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey.” This German-born Jewish couple fled Paris, carrying the manuscript about the curious little monkey on their bicycles. After many wonderfully illustrated adventures through Europe and South America, they end up in New Hampshire.

Tell kids you know to go find a book.

Here’s where to go for good food and good conversation:
Monday Munch
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.