PPBF: Mountain Chef

Hurray…autumn is here! I love the scarlet and gold of New England’s fall foliage. The cool crisp mornings and the warm sunny afternoons remind me of the vacations I’ve taken at many of our country’s incredible National Parks where even in the middle of the summer, the mornings can be really chilly because you are at a high altitude.

Have you been to any of our National Parks? Yosemite is the one featured in today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection. If you’d like to see more of this week’s Perfect Picture Book reviews, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.

I’m really excited to review this brand-new book—I just connected with the author, Annette Bay Pimentel…and guess what? I’ll be interviewing her for Will Write for Cookies next October!


MOUNTAIN CHEF: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service

Written by Annette Bay Pimentel

Illustrated by Rich Lo

Publisher: Charlesbridge (2016)

Ages: 5-9


Discrimination, conservation, National Parks, cooking, ingenuity


From Amazon:

The true story of a Chinese American mountain man who fed thirty people for ten days in the wilderness–and helped inspire the creation of the National Park Service.

 Tie Sing was born in the mountains. The mountains were in his blood. But because he was of Chinese descent at a time in America when to be Chinese meant working in restaurants or laundries, Tie Sing’s prospects were limited. But he had bigger plans. He began cooking for mapmakers and soon built a reputation as the best trail cook in California.

 When millionaire Stephen Mather began his quest to create a national park service in 1915, he invited a group of influential men—writers, tycoons, members of Congress, and even a movie star—to go camping in the Sierras. Tie Sing was hired to cook.

 Tie Sing planned diligently. He understood the importance of this trip. But when disaster struck—twice—and Tie Sing’s supplies were lost, it was his creative spirit and quick mind that saved the day. His sumptuous menus had to be struck and Tie Sing had to start over in order to feed the thirty people in the group for ten whole days. His skills were tested and Tie Sing rose to the challenge.

 On the last night, he fed not just the campers’ bodies, but also their minds, reminding them to remember and protect the mountains.

 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, created by Congress on August 25, 1916.

 Today, you can hike to Sing Peak, named for Tie Sing, in Yosemite National Park.

Opening Lines:

Tie Sing was a frontier baby, born high in the mountains in Virginia City, Nevada. Growing up, he breathed crisp Sierra air and scuffed through sagebrush. He learned to write in both English and Chinese.

Why I like this book:

  • I love unknown gems of history uncovered by writers who weave great picture book stories for kids.
  • This story has so many different levels…National Parks, racial discrimination, conservation, cooking, ingenuity, courage…parents and teachers can use it as a springboard for many different discussions.
  • Wonderful illustrations that help you feel you are camping right alongside Tie Sing.




  • If you have a National Park in your area, why not plan a day trip. When we lived in Colorado, we often drove 2+ hours to get to Rocky Mountain National Park…in the summer, we’d fish…in the fall, we’d stroll around Estes Park, the town right at one of the park’s entrances, where elk would walk up and down the streets…and in winter, we’d go up for a weekend and stay at one of the local lodges in the park…to snowshoe and cross country ski during the day and soak in the outdoor hot tub in the evening.


  • Fortune Cookies

fortune-cookiesPhoto courtesy: Taste of Home

Have you ever made fortune cookies? The kids will have fun thinking up their own fortunes to put in the cookies.

You can find the recipe here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/homemade-fortune-cookies

 Logo final BB2 1 inch 300dpi


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, dear friends and readers.

44 thoughts on “PPBF: Mountain Chef

    • It’s really fabulous, Linda…and Annette makes a great point…everyone should request their local library purchase these new picture books..but I do understand…libraries in Europe might not be as responsive as those in the US, especially to buy American stories. Are patrons able to request their local library purchase books?


    • I’m glad you are excited for the interview with Annette, Joanne…sorry we have to wait till next October…but never fear…there are some other great authors/illustrators coming up in the next few months: Sylvia Liu in October, Emma Bland Smith (Journey: The Most Famous Wolf in the West) in November, and a double treat in December, Jessica Lawson (fabulous MG author – Waiting for Augusta, Nooks and Crannies, and more), and, as a Christmas present, Duncan Tonituah. With a book giveaway every month! And 2017 only has 2 spots left…I’m totally thrilled!


    • I agree with Annette, Jane…I love the way you put that…and you are 100% right..and that is what we want to convey to young kids. That’s why I LOVE to write about people in history who inspire me…hopefully, those books (if they get published) will inspire kids as well. 😉


  1. What a great book that covers several different themes. Very cool! We went to Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Niagara Falls, and Ft. Ticonderoga in one trip this summer. We LOVE our national (and state) park system! I would include Crazyhorse, but it’s neither a state nor national park.

    Thanks, Vivian, for bringing the national parks and a lesser known book into the public eye!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes, Annette…he was the perfect match for your text! And thank you so much for stopping by to respond to the comments that have come in so far…there may be more in the next few days. You are so prompt…I’ve been revising a ms…but will say howdy tomorrow to all who commented.


  2. I love the idea of a hidden gem being shared in a picture book & this sounds like a fabulous story. And what a fabulous title – as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to open the book & read more. Thanks for highlighting this story & wonderful news that Annette will write for cookies next October.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that true, Pat…I felt the same way about the title…I just had to grab it and open it up. And the funny thing is that ‘they’ tell us a title needs to be short and sweet…well, Annette did that…but she also wrote a sub title that is ultra long…but it makes you want to read the book!

      Liked by 1 person

    • So right, Keila…and this story has so many layers…but they don’t impinge on the story…Annette did a really good job of that…I need to study how she did it…because sometimes my nonfiction pbs get a bit muddled and I lose the main thread.;)


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