Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It's the Berries! Little Ree: Best Friends Forever by Ree Drummond

"I have a new friend. Her name is Hyacinth.

Hyacinth is the greatest! She's a country girl like me, and we like doing exactly the same things."

Playing dress up with a best friend is fun, but today the two farm girls are doing something new. Little Ree's grandmother has invited Hyacinth and her grandmother to come over and make pies. Little Ree rolls out the pastry dough, and Hyacinth gets busy cutting out cute animals from the scraps. There are plenty of fresh berries, so Ree and her friend decide to make their own pie, too.

Their first finished product looks a bit strange, but the two friends agree that for taste, their first pie is a success.

Grandma says someday we'll be champion pie makers.

I think we need more practice!

And when the two friends find out about the County Fair Pie Contest, the girls are inspired!

Hyacinth says there are lots of ripe berries to pick on the ranch, so with Hyacinth's lucky berry basket, the two girls set out across the pasture, with their pets Puggie the dog and Patches the cat riding shotgun. Hyacinth says she knows a way to find where the wild berries are:

"Look for critters!" she advises. "They love berries."

For a while the pickin's are slim. The only critter they see is a skunk! But then they spot Pepper the pony, grazing happily in a blueberry patch.

SHOO! Pepper! SHOO! Quail!

They fill their basket and hurry home to make their pie and pop it in the oven with Grandma's, while they design a fancy entry card. But the pie has so much juice that it runs out, all over the sides of the pie pan. It smells delicious but it looks messy! But Hyacinth has a plan. They moisten her cut-out pastry critter creations and stick them all around the sides of the pie. Voila'! Creativity!

Although Grandma's Banana Cream Bonanza takes first prize, Little Ree and Hyacinth's Berry Blast Surprise earns a red ribbon, in Ree Drummond's Little Ree: Best Friends Forever! (Harper, 2018). In this sequel to her first title, Little Ree (read review here) television's celebrated homey cook, The Pioneer Woman, is on track to provide an alternative rural version of Jane O'Connor's Fancy Nancy adventures with Nancy Clancy and best friend Bree, in Drummond's case done up with artist Jacqueline Rogers' jolly country-styled illustrations, with best friends forever and plenty of down-home family farm doings in store.

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