Perfect Picture Book Friday: Mountain Chef PLUS Giveaway

Life is pretty hectic around here…my husband has been having heart issues and they are doing a cardiac catherization at Mass General in Boston today…which is where I am right now!

But I didn’t want to miss Perfect Picture Book Friday…especially since the author of this book is going to be our guest on Will Write for Cookies tomorrow. I’m reprising the review of her amazing nonfiction picture book that I featured last year because it’s a fabulous mentor text for all of my pb writer friends, because it’s a great read for young kids, and because next month it will be awarded the National Council of Social Studies’ Carter G. Woodson Award. Here’s the link.


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:

Please leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of this wonderful book…and don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the Q&A with author Annette Bay Pimentel.

To find more picture book reviews, hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday page.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, Feb 13, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Posted on October 20, 2017, in Cookie recipes, Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. I like the way you put it Vivian, “Gems of History.” It’s so important to tell stories of the past and bring them to life through picture books. This book is wonderful and has so much depth of meaning. Thank you for sharing.
    I feel for you as my husband was in the same situation years ago. I wish you and your husband all the best,
    Lily Erlic


  2. Vivian, I hope all goes well. Hugs and prayers for you both. Having spent many years hiking and camping in our National Parks, most recently Yellowstone and Crater Lake, I appreciate this book and its history. Definitely one to have as a mentor text. 🙂


  3. Kaye Frances Baillie

    Such an enticing story with luscious food descriptions. I also love looking at the different levels you’ve described, Vivian. Makes for many re-reads.


  4. Kaye Frances Baillie

    Gosh, and I meant to say I hope your husband is going to be well soon. x


  5. My prayers for you, Vivian and your husband, keep us posted!


  6. Prayers for your husband, Vivian. Hope all goes well.


  7. Sending prayers and healing thoughts to you & your husband, Vivian. I remember this book from when you posted it last year. Thanks for the reminder to read it.


  8. Vivian,

    So sorry you and your husband are going through those procedures. My husband ended up having a quadruple bypass, which was very successful. I wish you both the very best during this stressful time. Barb Cairns


  9. Prayers that all goes well for your husband, Vivian. I love how you say readers will feel they are right there camping with Tie Sing! Hoping to read this one soon!


  10. What an inspiring little-known story. Only in America can this happen.

    Sending love and hugs. I pray that everything goes well. My husband has been in the hospital for the past two weeks. Take care of yourself.


  11. Thanks for reminding me of this book. I look forward to hearing from the author tomorrow. Prayers for comfort and courage for you & your husband as you face his health challenges, and for the medical team’s wisdom, expertise, and compassion.


  12. This sounds like a wonderful book! All the best to you and your husband.


  13. Vivian, I will be praying for your husband and for you as you wait. Thank you for even thinking of your PB writer friends during all of this. You are so kind. I have reserved this book and can’t wait to dive into it. Many thanks.


  14. Sending love.

    I love the focus of this story about the National Parks.


  15. Sherri Jones Rivers

    This book looks fabulous, Vivian. So many offshoot topics to be discussed. We will pray for accurate results for your sweet husband and for a simple solution. You are quite the trooper, Miss Vivian.


  16. I’ve read this one – what a great historical nugget involving an immigrant!


  17. Great review – and a recipe for fortune cookies too! Thanks for sharing (don’t put my name in for the drawing)


  18. mariagianferrari

    Many hugs to you and your husband, Vivian!! Hang in there ❤ <3!!

    I enjoyed this one too, and can't wait for Annette's next book: Girl Running!!! As a former runner (never of marathon's though) & former Boston area resident, this book is right up my alley!!


  19. I hope your husband is well very soon, Vivian! I can’t wait to see the next post on this book.


  20. I’m keeping you and your husband in my prayers. I think this picture book is important for parents to get their hand on–i know I’ll learn so much while reading this about a place and time I know very little about.


  21. I’m so sorry to hear that you are all facing heart procedures…but thankful that you can get help at a good hospital. I think I NEED this book. Thanks for sharing it.


  22. Thanks for the reminder about this intriguing book! And prayers for you and your husband, Vivian, that the miracles that you’ve had with your own health will be extended to him, and all will be well.


  23. First, a hug and prayers that your husband heal completely soon. I was in your shoes last year. Hoping this is easily and quickly resolved.
    Thanks for recommending this golden nugget of history to us. It is vital that young and older readers learn the contributions so many immigrants and their descendants have made in shaping our country. I look forward to reading Mountain Chef.


  24. Looks like a wonderful PB. We need more books for children centered around our National Parks as well as diversity!


  25. Lovely to see the Chinese (and other minorities in your country) being given the recognition after so long.


  26. Lovely story on diversity, creativity and environmental issues. Great choice Vivian. Give hubby a hug and hope he is recuperating well now. Take care of you.


  27. I love learning unknown bits of history!


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