Friday, February 5, 2016

Fairytale Teaches Table Setting and CMV Prevention

In honor of February being International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month, I have created a fun, free downloadable placemat for coloring that features the tableware characters from my new fairytale, Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale. It includes infection prevention (not just prenatal infections, but others that are transmitted through saliva).

Many children don't know how to set the table so I thought the fairytale would be a useful tool for families. In addition to learning how to arrange the tableware, children will learn the importance of  washing hands before meals and refraining from sharing unwashed dishes.
Children (and sometimes adults) can be guilty of asking another to share a sip from their cup without realizing the possible serious health consequences. In addition, some mothers of childbearing age don't realize they shouldn't share dishes with their young children as a child's saliva could contain cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus that is usually harmless to them, but can have devastating consequences if a woman catches CMV while pregnant. Congenital (present at birth) CMV is the leading viral cause of birth defects.
For more information about the fairytale, early reviews,  and the free placemat, see the following press release.

Lisa Saunders

PO Box 389, Mystic, CT 06355



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 (including those that cause prenatal infections)


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.

Once Upon a Placemat  is a charming story of how the eating utensils came to arrange themselves on the table in the time honored elegance of a table well set. In addition to creating an atmosphere for families to eat healthy dinners together, Lisa Saunders provides parents and caregivers with valuable information about how to prevent the spread of cytomegalovirus (CMV), the leading viral cause of developmental disabilities in infants. The information is easy to understand and yet very thorough. Great references for more information,” said Dr. Joanne Z. Moore, owner of Shoreline Physical Therapy in East Lyme, Connecticut.

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.”

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 as a child's saliva could contain cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus that is usually harmless to them, but can have devastating consequences if a woman catches CMV while pregnant. Congenital (present at birth) CMV is the leading viral cause of birth defects.” Saunders shares her story in her memoir,
"Anything But A Dog!: The Perfect Pet For A Girl With Congenital Cmv (Cytomegalovirus)"

Co-author Jackie Tortora, a digital strategist living with her husband and their young son in Vienna, Virginia, 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:

The book is available on Amazon and Createspace.
For more information, visit or write to


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


Free general germ prevention placemats for coloring:

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