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Children Diversity Reading Challenge

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays Day 2

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays

2books-of-diversity

Welcome back to our #diversity countdown to Christmas. Our second book is

Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood.

Azalea is not happy about being dropped off to look after Grandmother Clark. Even if she didn’t care that much about meeting the new sixth graders in her Texas hometown, those strangers seem much preferable to the ones in Paris Junction. Talk about troubled Willis DeLoach or gossipy Melinda Bowman. Who needs friends like these!
And then there’s Billy Wong, a Chinese-American boy who shows up to help in her grandmother’s garden. Billy’s great-aunt and uncle own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long and some folks aren’t friendly. For Azalea, whose family and experiences seem different from most everybody she knows, friendship has never been easy. Maybe this time, it will be.
Inspired by the true accounts of Chinese immigrants who lived in the American South during the civil rights era, these side by side stories–one in Azalea’s prose, the other in Billy’s poetic narrative–create a poignant novel and reminds us that friends can come to us in the most unexpected ways.

I want you to read this book because, like me, I had limited knowledge of the Chinese population in the South during the 50s and 60s. We need more books with Chinese characters, btw!

 

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Diversity Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup: Picture Books to Middle Grade

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup

Picture Books to Middle Grade

It’s SUMMER! Summertime means more time for reading, YAY!  Not sure what to read? Your fave unconventional librarian has got you covered. I’ve compiled a list of kids books that contain diversity. No need to scour the internet or ask your friends to find the right book. I’ve got them here. All you’ll hafta do is go to your local bookstore or library and start reading.

#1 Mapping My Day By Julie Dillemuth, Lura Wood

Mapping My Day by July Dillemuth

Is a delightful book! I’m all about any book with a POC on the cover, right? But also? I love when books are sneaky and get some teaching in. The sneaky teaching way this book helps kids learn is by talking about something that kids use and love every day: maps! What kid doesn’t love drawing a treasure map like a pirate? Without even knowing it, kids will realize that they already know how to read and/draw maps and possibly legends. What kid doesn’t love tracing routes on a map? You know those: help so and so get to X location? That’s tracing a map. Kids love those activity sheets!

Spatial relations is a big word that means where things are in relation to other things and kids will love the fun and easy way that Flora (with her multi-racial family) relate to each other and other places spatially. Bonus points for milk squirting out of your nose at dinner.

So much fun learning. Also, counts for the Diversity Reading Challenge because the main character is a poc. Yay!

#2 Calling The Water Drum By Latisha Redding, Illustrated By Aaron Boyd

Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding

There is so much to love about this book. First the author and illustrator are both people of color which is a big win in my book. But of course, that’s what makes L&L so fab. They specialize in diversity. Calling the Water Drum is a tender fictionalized account of the Haitian refugee crisis from the 80s and 90s but told through the viewpoint of a very young boy who plays the drum instead of speaking. Young Henri’s perished traveling from Haiti to freedom in America and all the boy has left of his parents is the bucket they used in the boat to bail water out. Henri uses the drum as a way to connect to his family and friends he left back in Haiti and to connect with his new friends in New York.

Because children generally respond well to music I thought it would be fun to learn to make a drum so kids can express themselves like Henri.

The easiest way to make a drum is to find an old bucket, make sure it’s clean and empty, and bam, instant drum.

If you want to get a little more creative, there are many ways to make a drum without spending a dime.

  • Find an old coffee can or oatmeal container.
  • You’ll need materials to cover the open end, like: a balloon, an old scrap of leather, or wax paper.
  • Cover the open end with your material, ie., wax paper. use string, duct tape, or very large rubber bands to hold the wax paper to the sides of the can.
  • You’re done!
  • If you want to get extra fancy you can decorate the sides of your drum however you like: markers, spray paint, stickers, etc. The sky’s limit with your imagination!

When you’re ready to play, you can use your hands like Henri or use pencils as drumsticks. There are lots of lessons on Youtube to teach you how to drum with your hands if you want to go that route. Try to imitate the sounds and the rhythms that Henri makes in the book.

#3 Schmelf The Hanukkah By Greg Wolfe

Shmelf is one of Santa’s most important elves. He’s part of the List Checking department, and he makes sure all the good boys and girls get their presents! But when Shmelf finds out that some children are missing from Santa’s list, he goes to investigate.

What Shmelf uncovers is Hanukkah, a wondrous and joyful holiday that Jewish families celebrate each year. As Shmelf observes a family lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and hearing the Hanukkah story, he sees how special the traditions of the holiday truly are-and he wants to be a part of it! Luckily, Santa just might have a special role in mind for Shmelf….

Isn’t that the cutest little elf face ever? I love that this book is focused on the little ones. I know some little ones don’t understand that they celebrate differently than their friends. Here’s a way to make Hanukkah feel special for the little ones who are confused or who want to learn about Hanukkah.

Schmelf!

Even though this book is for the littles, let’s make it count for their Diversity Reading Challenge.

#4 Marvelous Cornelius By Phil Binder

Marvelous Cornelius by Phll Binder

In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

You know you’re gonna love a book when the opening quote features Martin Luther King, Jr. And this quote is a good one: “Even if it’s called your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo…who swept his job well.” That’s a great quote to aptly describe Cornelius, a garbage man in New Orleans. Marvelous Cornelius had a great spirit and a love for his community, which my buddy Phil aptly captures in the book. Young readers can learn about the history of Hurricane Katrina, but also learn that you can take pride in any job you do.

And who doesn’t love a book when the call to arms is “Hootie Hooooooo”?

No one, that’s who.

This book is great for K-3 and older. Also perfect for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

#5 The Ninja Librarians: Sword In The Stacks By Jen Swann Downey

The Ninja Librarians by Jen Swann Downey

Now official apprentices of the Lybrariad, Dorris and Marcus have joined Ebba in the immense time-folding labyrinth known as Petrarch’s Library for the Summer Quarter.

Dorrie is eager to do well at her practicums, and prove her worth as an apprentice, but before she can choose between “Spears, Axes, and Cats: Throwing Objects with Precision and Flair” and “First and Last Aid: When No One Else Is Coming”, mistakes made by Dorrie in the past cause trouble for the lybrarians.

The Foundation, once nearly destroyed by the Lybrariad, now has the means to rise from its ashes, and disappear reading and writing from the world. To make sure it succeeds, the Foundation sets in motion a dark plan to increase the power of a cruel figure from the fifteenth century.

To stop the Foundation, Dorrie, Marcus and Ebba will have to burglarize Aristotle, gather information among the suffragists and anti-suffragists of 1912 London, and risk their lives to wrest a powerful weapon out of the Foundation’s hands – all while upholding the Lybrariad’s first principle of protecting all writing, appreciated or despised. If they fail, reading and writing will only be the first things to disappear.

Ok here’s what I love first about this book: the word Ninja. I mean who doesn’t love the idea of ninjas? But then Ninja librarians? All the win!

Secondly, and most important, one of the main characters is a person of color. It’s been on my TBR list since October when the lovely author gifted it to me at KidLitCon.

#6 Making Friend With Billy Wong By Augusta Scattergood

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Azalea is not happy about being dropped off to look after Grandmother Clark. Even if she didn’t care that much about meeting the new sixth graders in her Texas hometown, those strangers seem much preferable to the ones in Paris Junction. Talk about troubled Willis DeLoach or gossipy Melinda Bowman. Who needs friends like these!
And then there’s Billy Wong, a Chinese-American boy who shows up to help in her grandmother’s garden. Billy’s great-aunt and uncle own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long and some folks aren’t friendly. For Azalea, whose family and experiences seem different from most everybody she knows, friendship has never been easy. Maybe this time, it will be.

Why you should read it: Well other than because I said so, it’s a look into the civil rights in the South and Chinese immigrants. You know , Blacks weren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of civil rights either, right? So here’s a tale that tweens and young teens can appreciate. Go on and add this title to your Diversity Reading Challenge list. It’s on mine!

#7 Pug Meets Pig By Sue Lowell Gallion, Joyce Wan

pug-mets-pig

“This is Pug’s home. This is where Pug lives.”

You know you’re going to love a book when the first page spread reveals a cute little dog running in the yard. SMILING.

I was smitten.

But all of a sudden cute little Pug has trouble.

Enter Pig.

Pig is eating Pug’s food, sleeping in his bed and generally making Pug unhappy.

And OMG Pug makes some bad choices and both he and little Pig are sad. (I’m not going to SPOIL)

#8 Passing The Bone: America’s Next Potus

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Now I’m not one to normally talk politics. There are enough people around who do that. What I do like to talk about is books for kids. And I’m glad to talk about books for kids that explain current events in ways that kids can understand. That’s why I love Passing the Bone. Along with Doreen Cronin’s Duck for President, these books explain in a fun way something about politics. That way kids can get in on the action too!

The author, Heather Patterson is a kindergarten teacher, and you know how resourceful they are! So not only did she write a book for the littles, she provides lesson plans, and other classroom activities. If you head to her site, you’ll find absolutely ADORBS interactive slideshows of parts of the book.

Bo Obama, Pup Of The United States, shares the dos and don’ts of America’s First Pup as he prepares to pass the bone to his canine successor. The entire nation is wondering, Who will be the next POTUS? May the best candidate win!

 

I love love love this book and what kid doesn’t want to read about Bo Obama? Just in time for election season, grab a copy of this book and when you tire of the election coverage, re-read Passing the Bone and find some joy in the election process by teaching the kiddos.

I also checked out Heather’s Pinterest, and it’s super cute, just like her. I’m such a fan of kindergarten teachers, they’re the gatekeepers of school. Who was your kindergarten teacher?

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Books

Books to Try if You Liked Black Panther #Afrofuturism

Books to Try if You Liked Black Panther

If you liked the Black Panther movie, you’re not alone. Millions of dollars have been spent at the box office to show this AA (African American) superhero  some love.  The Black Panther is a story for everyone who likes to read. Why? Black Panther has:

  • Girl Power
  • POC superhero
  • Space Travel
  • good v evil
  • history
  • Africa
  • STEM

And that’s just the first few things that entered my mind. Books like The Black Panther that include and celebrate the African experience are called AFROFUTURISM. All that fancy word means is that it’s the future (dsystopian/sci-fi) world through an Afrocentric lens rather than an Eurocentric lens. What does that mean? Simply that while the majority of space thrillers feature white culture and are reminiscent of cities they are familiar with (New York City, Europe, etc) Afrocentrism focuses on people whose ancestors came from Africa and honor the spirits and traditions and histories there. The problem is, most of the outside world doesn’t know about Africa’s rich history so the world needs to catch up. A lot of the experiences are similar enough for all cultures to appreciate: bad guys, a heroic quest, fast cars, spaceships, weapons, honor, glory, duty, familial ties, etc. And who doesn’t love to hate the bad guy?

Don’t know where to go to find Afrofuturistic books? That’s why I’m here! To help you catch up on Afrofuturistic literature I’ve compiled a list of books and authors. Any of these books would qualify for The Diversity Reading Challenge as well.

TEENS/YA

Akata Witch (Akata Witch #1) by Nnedi Okorafor 

Akata Warrior  by Nnedi Okorafor 

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

The Summer Prince Paperback  by Alaya Dawn Johnson 

 

CHILDREN

Black Panther Little Golden Book (Marvel: Black Panther)

My lil nephew doesn’t know this but he’s getting this book!  You probably already know that Golden Books and all the major publishers make leveled readers for DC and Marvel superheroes.

World of Reading: This is Black Panther: Level 1

 

MARVEL’s Black Panther: The Junior Novel

ADULTS

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) by Octavia E. Butler

Butler is probably the premiere Afrofuturistic writer. And she’s prolific; do check her out!

Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor 

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin

Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson

ALSO

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora edited by Sheree Thomas

The Gilda Stories by Jewelle L. Gomez

AUTHORS TO CHECK OUT

Samuel R Delaney

Jennifer Marie Brissett

Tananarive Due

Minister Faust

Andrea Hairston

Karen Lord

Walter Mosley

Nisi Shawl

Tade Thompson

Kai Ashante Wilson

 

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Books

An Unconventional Librarian’s Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

 

If you’re all things Nat Geo and wild animals like I am, you’ve got to check out this list of books for your little animal lover!

 

National Geographic Kids:

Just Joking Jumbo

 

Bet You Didn’t Know!

 

Hey Baby!

 

Ultimate Dinopedia

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Children

100 Things to be When You Grow Up by National Geographic Kids

100 Things to be When You Grow Up
by National Geographic Kids

If I had read 100 Things to be When You Grow Up I probably would have had an even tougher time making a career choice! From beekeeper to snake milker to pet food taster, there are so many more jobs to choose from than I could have ever imagined as a kid.

When I was a kid I wanted to be (in no particular order):

  • Carol Burnett
  • Forensic pathologist
  • singer
  • circus performer
  • actor
  • US President

Realistically, most of these jobs were unattainable for me, but it was certainly fun to daydream, right? That’s what so great about 100 things book: one woman, Shannon Walker, never imagined that as a young girl she could grow up to be an astronaut, but yep, that’ exactly what she became. It’s a dream come true for her and I’m sure many other people feel the same way about the jobs that they have. Especially the wacky and wild jobs noted in the book.  I mean, what IS a snake milker anyway?

I’m not telling.

You’ll hafta read the book for yourself.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

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Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding, illustrated by Aaron Boyd. #ReadYourWorld

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

It’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day! It’s the day we get to celebrate all things diverse and multicultural for kids. It’s one of my favorite days of the year because we get to learn about all the great books out there that you might not normally hear about. Books for kids of all kinds? WIN.

I’m thrilled today to bring you another great book from Lee & Low publishers. The book is

Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding, illustrated by Aaron Boyd

Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding

There is so much to love about this book. First the author and illustrator are both people of color which is a big win in my book. But of course, that’s what makes L&L so fab. They specialize in diversity. Calling the Water Drum is a tender fictionalized account of the Haitian refugee crisis from the 80s and 90s but told through the viewpoint of a very young boy who plays the drum instead of speaking. Young Henri’s perished traveling from Haiti to freedom in America and all the boy has left of his parents is the bucket they used in the boat to bail water out. Henri uses the drum as a way to connect to his family and friends he left back in Haiti and to connect with his new friends in New York.

Because children generally respond well to music I thought it would be fun to learn to make a drum so kids can express themselves like Henri.

The easiest way to make a drum is to find an old bucket, make sure it’s clean and empty, and bam, instant drum.

If you want to get a little more creative, there are many ways to make a drum without spending a dime.

  • Find an old coffee can or oatmeal container.
  • You’ll need materials to cover the open end, like: a balloon, an old scrap of leather, or wax paper.
  • Cover the open end with your material, ie., wax paper. use string, duct tape, or very large rubber bands to hold the wax paper to the sides of the can.
  • You’re done!
  • If you want to get extra fancy you can decorate the sides of your drum however you like: markers, spray paint, stickers, etc. The sky’s limit with your imagination!

When you’re ready to play, you can use your hands like Henri or use pencils as drumsticks. There are lots of lessons on Youtube to teach you how to drum with your hands if you want to go that route. Try to imitate the sounds and the rhythms that Henri makes in the book.

*************************

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawMaria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

 

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:

MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use their official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

 

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Books

Got Kids? Submit a 90 Second Newbery Award Film!

 

nsnlogo

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is an annual video contest in which young filmmakers create movies that tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in about 90 seconds. We are now entering our sixth year!

We feature the best submissions at annual special-event screenings in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Portland, Tacoma, Rochester, San Antonio and other cities—co-hosted by founder James Kennedy (author of the young-adult fantasy The Order of Odd-Fish) and other award-winning children’s authors. Here’s the schedule for this year’s screenings(want to bring the 90-Second Newbery to your town? Contact me at [email protected]).

If you like creative kids and books then the 90 Second Newbery Award Film Festival is for you! Take your fave Newbery Award winner and make a film out of it. That’s it! Make it as kooky, quirky, or creative as you want and send it to my BESTIE James (tell him Pammy Pam says Hi) and you could see yourself on the big screen.

Seriously, these are the BEST DANG films I’ve ever seen! We had the fortune to view a few at KidLitCon in Wichita and I want to tell you the folks never heard such laughter. Like Frog and Toad as puppets? Heelarious!

I need to borrow a kid so I can be in a film…

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Books [email protected]

Tips for a Happy Toddler, a Toddler Bucket List #Blogust #TBT

Toddlers. Some of the cutest people on the planet. And also some of the most terrible. Within seconds toddlers can be loving, friendly, angry and back to loving again. There’s just no understanding what will set them off to crying or laughing.

But we love toddlers and we want to take care of them and make sure they’re happy. I’ve created a toddler bucket list; a list of items that toddlers need to keep them happy and safe.

 

ToddlerBucket List

I suspect that toddlers are similar all over the world. Take a look at the photos above. Do you know what is similar in both photos? Both children would benefit from  Toddler Bucket List. And who doesn’t want a happy toddler? It doesn’t matter whether children live across the globe or across time.The photo on top is me, the little fellow on the bottom pic is my first born, my #1 son. Ya know what we have in common, right? Vaccines.

Vaccines are important to children everywhere. Toddlers can’t grow up to be Unconventional Librarians or big brothers if they don’t get all the vaccines they need. No matter where or when they live, toddlers need vaccines. Help me make sure that toddlers everywhere live long enough to laugh, cry, and have everything they need on the Toddler Bucket list by supporting [email protected] this Blogust.

 

 

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Children

Help your kids survive summer vacation with Kathi Lipp

Surviving Summer Vacation by Kathi Lipp

Surviving Summer Vacation by Kathi Lipp

The subtitle of the ebook is just as great as the title: Plans and Prayers for a Mom’s Sanity.  Isn’t that great? With families being busier than ever, summer  can sometimes be overwhelming. The kids get a break from school but yet Mom still has a long list of chores to get done and now she has to juggle the kids into that mix.  It can be stressful.

Here are some of Kathi’s tips that I thought were great:

  • Plant a pizza garden, “marinara based meals all summer long” and dinner? SMART!
  • Create experiences that Mom wants to participate in too, so it’s not drudgery for her as well. GENIUS
  • Summer screen time. Set limits. GO PLAY
  • Book club where “no one gets in trouble if they don’t read the book one month” MY KINDA CLUB
  • Create a home library: buy books at thrift stores and garage sales.
  • Develop a home reading program with prizes and games.

I LOVE these bookish ideas! I would add: make a special reading nook. I like reading on a comfy couch by a window with pillows but wouldn’t an outdoor tent or fort be fun too? Maybe a treehouse? Or maybe a mom cave?

Check this book out. It’s a quick read and you might find something in it for yourself! What’s one bookish activity your family enjoys during the summer?

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Books Children

NatGeoKids Real or Fake? by Emily Krieger

NatGeoKids Real or Fake?

Real or Fake

Far-out fibs, fishy facts, and phony photos to test for the truth

 

Here’s a fun book from National Geographic KiDS that kid will LOVE. Like all NGK books, Real or Fake contains great color photos with fun facts and wild interesting information that you might not learn about otherwise.  Here’s an example: An octopus that lives in trees in the US Pacific Northwest. Real or Fake?  The answer? Fake! Why? Because just like Bigfoot, it’s a made up thing. How about Chester the chimp who can play a guitar specially designed for him. The answer? Fake! As funny as it sounds, chimps can do many things but they sadly, cannot learn to play and sing because they don’t have the fine motor skills that humans have. But how funny would that be?

Is there really a place called Humpty Doo, Australia? Yes. What about Batman, Turkey? Yes. Cheeseburger, Wisconsin? Fake. What about Firenadoes? Is that a thing?

You’ll hafta Google it to find out.  In the meantime, grab several copies of this book because when you bring this book home everyone’s going to want to read it!

Did you know you can get a job as a pet food taster?

Yep.

(gagging)