Sunday, February 7, 2016

Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale



Grandmother Lisa Saunders Teaches Table Setting Skills
To Keep the Dish from Running Away With the Spoon  

Fairytale told to a little girl in “Once Upon a Placemat” includes germ prevention


Mystic, Conn.—  Lisa Saunders, a grandmother in Mystic, wrote a table-setting fairytale to teach children how to set the table in a fun and memorable way. Her daughter, Jackie Tortora, co-authored “Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale,” which includes recipes of the foods eaten in the story, plus germ prevention tips. The "Placemat" characters are available free for downloading and coloring by clicking here (reverse side of placemat lists disease spread through saliva plus the CDC's recommendations for hand washing).

About the book: When a young girl can't remember how to set the table, her grandmother teaches her to listen to the silverware. Learn why the table is set the way it is. Why does the knife keep a sharp eye on the plate? Why does the fork want a napkin bed and the cup insist she and the others get a bath before being shared?

"Once Upon a Placemat finally accomplished what we could not--getting our kids to remember how to correctly set the table! Now, I hear my 12-year-old saying to herself, “Mr. Knife stands between Mrs. Spoon and Mr. Plate. Mr. Knife keeps his eyes and teeth toward Mr. Plate because he doesn’t trust him since there was that time the ‘dish ran away with the spoon.’ What a brilliant extension to an old nursery rhyme.Once Upon a Placemat’ will also help your kids better understand the importance of washing their hands before meals and not sharing dishes. Short story--big impact. Finally, a story that sticks!” said Dr. Rebecca Cihocki, an audiologist in Scottsdale, Arizona.

"The lesson of how to set a table is valuable as this is part of encouraging a family to sit down and eat together—a main intervention in preventing obesity," said Alison Dvorak, MS, RDN, CDN, of Franklin, Connecticut.

Lisa Saunders is an award-winning writer living in Mystic, Connecticut, with her husband and hound. A graduate of Cornell University, she is the parent representative of the Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Foundation, and in 2015, was in instrumental in helping Connecticut become one of the few states in the country to enact a law combating the leading viral cause of birth defects, congenital (meaning present at birth) CMV.  Saunders said, “CMV is carried by a high percentage of apparently healthy toddlers. It is found in bodily fluids such as saliva and is of concern to women of childbearing age because the virus can lead to complications in their baby's development if they are pregnant while infected.”

Once Upon a Placemat ” is an expanded version of the fairytale Saunders told in her children’s novel, “Ride a Horse, Not an Elevator,” which is featured in the Cornell University 4-H “Horse Book in a Bucket Program.”
Once Upon a Placemat” co-author, Jackie Tortora, is a digital strategist living with her husband and their young son in Vienna, Virginia. She created the title, cover illustration, and additions to the tableware characters in 1999 when she was 12 years old.
Once Upon a Placemat” is illustrated by Marianne Greiner of Bloomfield, New York.  

People are invited to "Like" “Once Upon a Placemat” and upload their colored placemats at:

Book Details: “Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale"

List Price: $6.99

Publication Date: Feb 02 2016

ISBN/EAN13:1523750790 / 9781523750795

Page Count: 40

Trim Size: 6" x 9"

Language: English

Color: Black and White

Related Categories: Juvenile Fiction / Cooking & Food

The book is available on Amazon and by ordering at your local bookstore. To purchase books and/or larger placemats in bulk, write to Lisa Saunders directly at

Links to images:

Author photos:
Lisa Saunders. Photo by Cindy Barry:

Lisa Saunders, parent representative of the Congenital Cytomegalovirus Foundation, is pictured next to Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy holding a photograph of her daughter, Elizabeth (1989-2006), at the ceremonial bill signing for Public Act 15-10: An Act Concerning Cytomegalovirus at the Office of the Governor in Hartford on July 28, 2015.
See for full caption with others in the photograph: