A tale that'll have you hollerin' "Rasssssspberrrrrrrieeeeees!"

Simon was once a baker so well known for his tasty treats, you might say he was famous. But the poor guy fell on hard times when the bakery closed. Then Simon meets a young girl whose family he once helped. As a thank-you, the enchanting girl gives Simon dried raspberries that turn out to be magical when planted. They're so sweet a person can't help but jump into the air and sing out, "Rasssssspberrrrrrrieeeeees!" ...

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A tale that'll have you hollerin' "Rasssssspberrrrrrrieeeeees!"

Simon was once a baker so well known for his tasty treats, you might say he was famous. But the poor guy fell on hard times when the bakery closed. Then Simon meets a young girl whose family he once helped. As a thank-you, the enchanting girl gives Simon dried raspberries that turn out to be magical when planted. They're so sweet a person can't help but jump into the air and sing out, "Rasssssspberrrrrrrieeeeees!" This inspires Simon to sell the berries to a local baker and pretty soon the whole town has something to cheer about.

This tale, a favorite of Jay O'Callahan's storytelling fans, evokes marvelous responses from readers, as they enjoy the folk art of Will Moses and shout out along with the townsfolk. Raspberries! comes complete with an audio CD of the famous Jay O'Callahan reading the text.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a tale with the scope and ambition of a novel, O'Callahan (Herman and Marguerite) tells a pay-it-forward story about a failed baker, Simon, and his comeback. At Simon's lowest moment, after his second business goes up in flames, he's given a handful of dried raspberries by Sally, a poor woman whose family he had helped in better days. The village baker helps Simon make tarts with the raspberries that grow miraculously from Sally's gift. The tarts have a magical effect on anyone who eats them, from Old Mrs. Oddbones, “bent as a hairpin,” to Lucy Wooly, the town bully: every person who eats them begins to leap and dance, yelling, “Rasssssspberrrrrrrieeeeees!” (For emphasis, the word is set in curvy red script each time a character shouts it out.) Simon's reputation is restored, and his red hair, which he's been hiding under a hat, “shot up like firecrackers.” Moses's (Raining Cats and Dogs) naïve spreads capture an America of saltbox houses, flour sacks, horse carts and bunting on the village bandstand, while O'Callahan's enthusiasm, humor and sincerity point to the transformative power of kindness. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)
Faithful to narrative details, the energetic folk-art style illustrations capture the personalities, exuberance, and flavor of a story that celebrates a persevering, kindhearted entrepreneur.
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Simon was a sad and discouraged egg man. He had the worst run of luck. There was a time when he found joy in baking in his bakeshop, and people enjoyed his baked goods. He charged Sally only a penny for two loaves of bread because that was all her family could afford. One day, two baker friends stole Simon's money which forced him to sell the bakeshop and move away. He moved to a town and sold eggs. One day, he sees Sally again and she thanks him for his kindness by giving him a pouch filled with dried raspberries for planting. Simon raced the storm home with just enough time to toss the dried raspberries on his land. As fate would have it, lightning hit the barn and engulfed it in flames. No more chickens and no more eggs for Simon to sell. In the morning, to Simon's surprise, there were bushes filled with raspberries and Simon's life begins to take a turn. The folk-art style of illustrations fits and works well with the story. The author's recorded reading of the story on the accompanying CD is worth listening to hear him joyfully shout, "Ras-s-spber-r-rie-e-es!" A wonderful story about how life can change. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Simon is a talented baker. He is also kind, often selling two loaves for a penny to Sally, a poor child in town. But when he's robbed by his fellow bakers, he decides to give up baking and move away. Things get even worse when lightning strikes his barn, killing his chickens. Soon, though, in the best folkloric tradition, his kindness to Sally is repaid when she gives him a pouch full of dried raspberries. The berries that grow when he throws them on his fields are so delicious that folks who eat them jump in the air and sing, "Rasssssspberrrrrrrieeeeees!" Eventually, these magical fruits help lead Simon into a wonderful new life. This old-fashioned, somewhat rambling tale is greatly enhanced by Moses's oil paintings. They are done in his signature folk-art style, depicting a colorful landscape with horse-drawn wagons, kids rolling hoops down the street, and general stores with big pickle barrels. A recording of the author telling the story is included. While not an essential purchase, this story will hold special appeal for O'Callahan's many fans.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
The author's storytelling voice and the illustrator's folk-inspired art whip up a delicious tale of tarts. Simon was once a famous baker; his bread rose higher than anyone's and people came from all over to buy it-until two baker friends stole all his money. After that everything he touches falls flat. He sells his shop, buys a farm 100 miles away and sells eggs. One day he sees a young girl wearing a dress of bright patches. Sally had been his favorite customer, and he always gave her extra bread because her family was poor. Now, in return, she gives Simon a pouch of dried raspberries to plant. When Simon opens the door the next morning, he sees a rolling red sea of raspberries, leading to a partnership with Baker Willums to make raspberry tarts that become a sensation for the town's birthday celebration. The text's oral beginnings make it a delicious read-aloud, and Moses's old New England setting suits it to a T. Stretching out the word "rassssspberrrrrrrieeeeeeeees" (printed in a curling red type) throughout heightens the fun. Recording included. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781877954405
  • Publisher: Artana Productions
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Format: CD

Meet the Author

Jay O'Callahan, who first began telling stories to his siblings, lives in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Will Moses, the great-grandson of Grandma Moses,lives in Eagle Bridge, New York.

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