Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review: Sweet Potato Pie

Illustrator:  Charlotte Riley-Webb
Review Copy provided by:  publisher, Lee & Low Books
Summary of Book:  The summer a great drought sweeps across the county, the only crop Sadie's family is able to save is the sweet potatoes. Money is tight, and if Papa doesn’t pay back his loan soon, the bank will take away the farm.
Suddenly Mama comes up with an idea — sweet potato pies! The family can sell her pies at the Harvest Celebration that starts the very next day. There's not much time to get ready, but as Sadie and her brother enlist the cooperation of their old cow, squawking chickens, and half-blind goat, the family rises to the challenge. And in the end it's Sadie who comes up with just the right recipe for success.

My Review:  Lee and Low chooses such good books.  I have not received one yet that I was unhappy with.  Sweet Potato Pie brings us a sweet story of an African American family that pulls together to better their situation.  This book is so appropriate for the times we are living in now, even though it is set in the past.  Many families these days are dealing with money being tight and trying to figure out what they can do to either stretch their dollars or increase the money coming into their house.  Through this story, children can see that even they can help during tough times.  Kathleen Lindsey turns a trying situation in one family's life into a time to come together, solve a problem, and celebrate the little things in life.  Charlotte Riley-Webb's illustrations are very vibrant and show the emotions of the family as the story unfolds.  I would recommend this book to teachers during the autumn season or when talking about cooperation or problem-solving.  I think children will enjoy this book.

There is even a recipe for sweet potato pie in the back of the book.

Mama's Sweet Potato Pie

1 Extra-flaky Pie Crust (see recipe below)
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (approx. 3 large)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick ) butter or margaring at room temperature
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks.  Boil until tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Drain off water and put hot potatoes into large bowl.  Mash potatoes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients except cinnamon and beat sweet potato mixture until smooth.
  5. Pour warm filling into pie crust and sprinkle top with cinnamon.
  6. Bake for about 1 hour, util filling is firm and crust is golden brown.
  7. Let cool on rack.
Mama's Extra-Flaky Pie Crust

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup cold milk
  1. Combine flour and salt in bowl.
  2.  Add shortening and use pastry blender or fork to cut shortening into flour mixture until crumbly.
  3. Add milk and knead dough until soft ball forms.
  4. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to form large circle.
  5. Place circle of dough into 9-inch pie pan and press dough into corners.
  6. Trim off excess dough with knife.  Use fork to press down around rim of pan to create decorative edge.
Thank you to Hannah at Lee and Low for sending this to me!


wisteria said...

Thanks for the great review and telling about this book. I often make sweet potato pie as my husband came from the South. I did not know about this book and will definitely get it for my library at school. Thanks!

Shelly B said...

Wisteria - glad I could help you find a new book for the library. It really is a good one!

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