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The Unbeatable Bread
     

The Unbeatable Bread

by Lyn Littlefield Hoopes, Brad Sneed (Illustrator)
 

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Beyond the walls of Uncle Jon's home, snow is falling, a cold wind is blowing, children are dreaming, and bears are sleeping. And Uncle Jon is out change it all by baking an 'unbeatable bread.'

Overview

Beyond the walls of Uncle Jon's home, snow is falling, a cold wind is blowing, children are dreaming, and bears are sleeping. And Uncle Jon is out change it all by baking an 'unbeatable bread.'

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hoopes (Half a Button) concocts a catchy, image-rich rhyming text, with a tempo that rises and drifts and winds like the aroma of Uncle Jon's "unbeatable bread" as it wafts its way through a sleepy town. "It whispered 'round snowmen/ stooped under trees,/ and whistled in hives of honeybees,/ rose into bedrooms,/ rumbled in snores,/ and crept with the spiders over nursery doors." Aunt Lucy's admonitions ("Uncle Jon, you've baked enough!") are in vain when Uncle Jon decides to create a bread made of "the yellow of the morning sun," "a whistle in the wind" and "clouds on the run." Sneed (When the Fly Flew In) catches the mood with fanciful compositions. Humorous, subtle exaggerations in perspective and of facial and body features offset the muted tones of his densely layered oil palette. Genial, rotund Uncle Jon tiptoes with the grace of a ballet dancer when reaching for his precious ingredients. After the buildup, one expects the bread to be or look like something more than an ordinary, golden loaf. With the arrival of clamoring children, pets and forest creatures drawn to its scent, however, its crowd-pleasing properties are undeniable. The same could be said of this warm-as-toast tale. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2Uncle John wakes from a deep winter sleep determined to bake "an unbeatable bread." Undeterred by his wife's protests that there is no one around to eat his creation, the man sings while mixing and measuring. The smell of baking bread rouses not only their human neighbors but also the hibernating animals from the countryside. By the time the loaf comes out of the oven, a crowd has gathered to share the treat. Hoopes's rollicking text moves along at a good pace with bouncy read-aloud appeal. However, it's Sneed's wonderful oil paintings that will send readers hurrying to the kitchen. Uncle John's larger-than-life stature and ambition are exemplified best in the depiction of him as he plucks fluff from passing clouds to add to the dough while the waking sun stretches in his mixing spoon. The tendrils of song and fragrance that shake the winter world from sleep beckon viewers across the pages. Anyone who has awakened to smells of cinnamon and yeast will appreciate the culinary talents of Uncle John and the picture-book talents of Hoopes and Sneed.Kathy Piehl, Mankato State University, MN
Ilene Cooper
It's snowing and blowing outside, but Uncle Jon wakes up with a solution to warm his immediate world--bread! Hoopes' remarkable poetry is the leavening of this book, making it rise to outrageous heights. Despite his wife's pleas to the contrary, Uncle Jon insists, "I will bake an unbeatable bread, / an undefeatable bread! / A YES bread, make-a-mess bread, / a Loud bread, feed-a-crowd bread." And soon the aroma of that bread is floating upstairs, along the halls, sliding out the windows and through the walls. It does attract the crowd that Uncle Jon had hoped for, and so will this book, whose jacket illustration--a close-up of Uncle Jon eating a big slice of bread--will immediately draw kids in. The oil paintings are thickly executed in frames that contain scenes that sometimes should be allowed to soar free. It is the quieter scenes, like the one of the snow-covered village at night, that work the best within the format. A good story-hour choice and fun to read aloud for both adults and children.
Kirkus Reviews
Hoopes wrings every drop of poetry from each line, turning an outwardly dull idea into a celebration of life. Rotund Uncle Jon wakes up one morning with a deep, impractical need to bake an unbeatable bread, a bread that will summon animals from hibernation and wrest springtime from the wintry hills. The insistent rhymes and hard-hitting cadence ring like bells whose peals cannot be ignored, carrying readers along on flights of fancy as the smell of bread permeates the house and neighborhood, even entering the dreams of sleeping children: "The sea sang silver,/and the skinny moon smiled/as they sailed away the morning miles,/and the gray sky ran to gold and red/with the perfect browning of the bread." Such vivid wordsmithing hardly needs illustration, but Sneed pitches in with memorable oil paintings, puffed, rounded, and sculpted as if from dough. A soul-warming treat to leave readers salivating.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803716117
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/01/1996
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.84(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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