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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hooray for Bread, Written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Bruce Ingman. Candlewick, Random House. 2013. $18.00 ages 3 and up

"The baker's wife had the
second slice
On a tray with a steamy cup
Sunlight shining in the room
And the baby waking up.

The next two slices
made a pair
With butter, cheese,
and ham"

One of our favorite books to read when Erin and Bret were young was Each Peach Pear Plum and it remains on our 'keepers' shelf today, thirty years later. I have enjoyed books by the Ahlbergs through the years and am delighted to see each new book that comes from Allan's fertile imagination. This new book about bread is sure to be a hit with little ones!

When a baker brings a fresh loaf of bread home to the family, it offers an invitation for readers to watch what happens to the loaf as the day progresses. It's quite the lesson for all. Eaten at meals, and shared with a menagerie of animals (mice, birds, ducks and even the dogs), the bread is valued for its deliciousness and its ability to feed more than just the family itself.

The animals are delighted with the gift of food and show their appreciation on double-page spreads with huge hoorays in their own vernacular. It's fun for early readers to share and to take a part in the reading. It's a rhyming treat inspired by splendid tasty morsels. As each member of the baker's family is introduced and a new meal enjoyed, we soon know that even a tiny mouse will chance to share the last wee crumb. Two runaway slices are celebrated as the story comes to a close.

Bruce Ingman adds charm with his easy lines and sunny backgrounds. The illustrations are filled with fun and familiarity and give a feeling of the pleasure that comes with having happy meal times with family members. Each scene is sure to be pored over, and to offer a chance for talk between reader and listener. Perfect for getting young ones talking about favorite foods, and seeing the humor that is so much a part of the artwork.

And now is the time to get out there and get the ingredients needed to try baking a loaf of your own!

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