By David Small
What would you do if you woke one morning and found you had grown giant antlers? That is exactly the predicament faced by plucky little Imogene in author/illustrator David Small’s delightfully comic picture book Imogene's Antlers.
Imogene is a character you would want to have as a friend – sweet, nonchalant, unflappable, and amused by the new twist in her life. Imogene’s family on the other hand reacts in some very amusing ways, providing readers with lots of giggles as everyone searches for an explanation for the antlers.
The text is simple, concise and most concerned with describing the events of this highly unusual day, while the illustrations are whimsical, expressive and full of details that draw readers into the adventure. This is a magical story that both children and adults will enjoy pulling off the shelf for years to come.
In this Issue
In Imogene's Antlers, our heroine finds many ways to celebrate her new-grown appendages, including swinging from the chandelier and loading the antlers with candles to practice her piano. My personal favorite occurs as the cook fills the tines with fresh doughnuts and sends Imogene out to the garden to feed the birds!
Here's a recipe for baked doughnuts that does not require a doughnut pan. The dough is easy to mix up and knead with the aid of a stand mixer, and two rising times allows plenty of time for a Imogene's Antlers re-read or the antler-ing of your young reader (see below).
These are also good the next day: the doughnuts will absorb the powdered sugar and almost form a glaze. And if they get too stale, I'm sure your neighborhood birds would be happy to assist in eating them.
Young Readers in the Kitchen
Kids can help measure ingredients, roll out dough, cut out doughnuts, and coat baked doughnuts in powdered sugar (and lick extra powdered sugar off their fingers).
Imogene's Baked Doughnuts
Makes about 8 doughnuts
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
- 2/3 cup milk, 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Place yeast and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Pour the warm milk over the yeast and stir to dissolve
- Stir in melted butter.
- Add egg, flour, nutmeg and salt and stir to form a rough dough.
- With the mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix dough for 2-3 minutes onmedium speed. Check dough's consistency: if it feels very sticky, add a bit more flour; if it is very dry, add a bit more milk.
- Using the mixer, knead for 2 more minutes.
- Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise 1 hour, or until doubled.
- Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thick.
- Cut our doughnuts with a 3- to 4-inch round cookie cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut out the hole with an at least 1-inch cutter: if the hole is too small it will close back up when baking!
- Cover again and let rise for 30 minutes while oven is heating to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes until just golden on the bottom.
- Place 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a bowl. While doughnuts are still warm, coat in powdered sugar.
While sprouting antlers or a peacock tail might prove to be a major inconvenience, the idea of such a fantastic adventure for just a day provides us with a lot of fun “What ifs?” to ponder. While you and your reader contemplate the fun that could ensue, create portraits showing just how your reader would look if this magical adventure would happen at your house.
Why We Like This Activity
We love using a variety of materials incorporated into one project and this one does just that. This activity opens the door to really let the imagination come out to play. Not only is it fun to imagine what it you would look like if you grew antlers and create that in visual form, the conversation is sure to take a silly turn as you discuss how everyday things would suddenly become more difficult – and hilarious. You might even want to encourage your reader to act out a few activities, the sillier the better!
Imagine If Portraits
- Heavy paper or cardstock or photo printed on cardstock
- Crayons or markers
- Pipe cleaners
- Have your reader create a self-portrait using crayons or markers OR print a suitable photo on cardstock.
- Cut sections of pipe cleaner and glue on to create antlers and glue on feathers to create a peacock tail.
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