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.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on September 23, 2016, in Cookie recipe, Perfect Pictture Book Friday, Picture Book Review, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. oooooo, I really want to read this one.
    Thanks for sharing, Vivian.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Linda! And if your local library doesn’t own it you could suggest they buy it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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?


  2. This is a gem. I love to find little unknown true stories. And, it is perfect addition for the National Park celebration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I LOVE this account. I knew nothing of Tie Sing despite having read about the creation of the national parks! Terrific!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow, wow, wow. I love the style of the opening line and the art is gorgeous. Plus it sounds like this book has plenty of layers. Thanks. Looking forward to your upcoming interview.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Joanne. The watercolor illustrations are luminous.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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!


  5. “Unknown gems of history”–Yes, Vivian! It makes us readers feel as if we, too, could do something of lasting importance. Thanks for introducing me to this book! And I love National Parks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You express that central theme beautifully!–“makes us….feel as if we, too could do something of lasting importance.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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. 😉


  6. Yay! Another nonfiction story I haven’t read. And this one takes place in Yosemite National Park where I spent my honeymoon! I know I’m going to love this book, stories, pictures, and all! And I love that you included a fortune cookie recipe! Perfect!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I LOVE unknown gems like this, too! And with a multicultural component – you got me!
    What a great story! Putting this one on my list. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love Yosemite! And I love that Tie Sing is getting some long overdue recognition. This sounds like a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. 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

  10. mariagianferrari

    I have been eagerly anticipating this book! Thanks, Vivian!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you for profiling the book, Vivian! I feel very lucky to have been paired with Rich Lo as the artist. He not only paints beautifully but also grew up, like Tie Sing, with feet in two different cultures. I’m glad you liked his illustrations, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.


  12. 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

  13. This is an amazing story. I love the gems that Vivian finds and always a wonderful review that makes you want to check it out. Hoping this comes down my way. Thanks for sharing Vivian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You bring up a really good point, Diane…is it difficult to get US published books in the bookstores and libraries of NZ?
      So glad you enjoyed the review…it always fun for me to make those discoveries.;)


  14. Mountain Chef sounds super!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My kind of story…culture + history! Thanks for the heads up about this one Vivian!

    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.;)


  16. I really like the idea of this book! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Polilla Writes

reading, writing, celebrating the written word

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Michelle Eastman Books

Kid Lit Author and Advocate


about reading, writing & thinking children's books

Laura Boffa: Write of Way

Giving the way of writing the right of way


A Gallery of New Picture Book Talent

EMU's Debuts

From Deal to Debut: the Path to Publication

Wander, Ponder, Write

A KidLit Journey...

Picture Book House

reviews and stories about parenting with picture books

Pernille Ripp

Teacher. Author. Creator. Speaker. Mom.

Norah Colvin

Live Love Laugh Learn . . . Create the possibilities

Gathering Books

Singapore | United States of America | Philippines

Beth Anderson, Children's Writer

Reader, Writer, Miner of Moments

Susanna Leonard Hill

Children's Author

The Stinky Backpack

Traveling the Everyday World

The Runaway Palate

Food. Travel. Cooking. Random musings. Maybe some historical stuff.

The Reader and the Book

"O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Authors & Illustrators Wild About Kidlit!

One Good Thing

Teresa Robeson's 365-Day project

Tracy Campbell

Heart for Ewe Publishing

kidsbook friends

Check out this blog about children's books!

Mary Jo Beswick

Artist - Children's Book Author & Illustrator - Teacher

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

Children's Writer


READING: like dancing in your brain

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

Stacy S. Jensen

Reader | Writer | List Maker

Reading With Rhythm

book reviews from Rhythm the Library Dog

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Nerdy Chicks Write

Get it Write this Summer!

Laura Sassi Tales

Celebrating writing, reading, and life.

Erika Wassall here... The Jersey Farm Scribe

Author, Freelance Writer, Entreprenur... LIVER of life

Angie Karcher

Writing Children's Books

Chapter Book Chat

A Writer Reviews Chapter Books, by Marty Mokler Banks

The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

The Waiting

Turns out, it's not the hardest part.

%d bloggers like this: