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Ugly Pie

Ugly Pie

by Lisa Wheeler

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Ol’ Bear wakes one morning with a hankering for Ugly Pie, so he goes on a search from neighbor to neighbor. All he finds are pies that please the eye and . . . ingredients? Wait a second. Maybe it’s time for Ol’ Bear to start cookin’ up something ugly himself! Ol’ Bear shares that Ugly Pie with his generous neighbors—and he


Ol’ Bear wakes one morning with a hankering for Ugly Pie, so he goes on a search from neighbor to neighbor. All he finds are pies that please the eye and . . . ingredients? Wait a second. Maybe it’s time for Ol’ Bear to start cookin’ up something ugly himself! Ol’ Bear shares that Ugly Pie with his generous neighbors—and he shares his secret recipe, too, in the back of this book.

Lisa Wheeler’s story is a joy to read aloud and some parts just beg to be sung. Heather Solomon’s illustrations aren’t the least bit ugly, but full of lovely details and charming bears with big ol’ appetites for pie.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Modern-day children...[will] like the gentle humor, the repetition, the compelling details in the pictures, and the folksy tone."--The Horn Book

"If you're looking for a sweetened followup to a "Stone Soup" retelling, this offers a folklore-friendly slice."--Bulletin

"Wheeler's rural dialect text is fun to read....Even better are Solomon's predominantly watercolor illustrations."--Publishers Weekly

"The watercolor-and-acrylic illustrations pleasingly crowd the pages....Playful type adds swing to Ol' Bear's ditty, while a two-page recipe completes the tasty package."--Booklist

"This humorous tale should appeal greatly to little cubs everywhere."--School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Ol' Bear has a "hankerin'," and only one thing will satiate it: Ugly Pie. By following him on a quest through the forest, with stops at the homes of friendly neighbors who offer up their own traditional pies (no pie-filching Yogi Bear is he), readers will eventually learn that Ugly Pie is defined by the unaesthetic quality of its ingredients: wrinkled raisins, sour green apples, bumpy brown walnuts, and molasses. The conceit isn't all that successful--the pie may look ugly, but it sounds pretty good--especially in an age where gross is the new gorgeous. Still, Wheeler's (Boogie Knights) rural dialect text, replete with dropped gs ("Then Ol' Bear commenced to a-choppin' and a-mixin' and a-stirrin' and a-fixin' "), is fun to read--grownups should try channeling Baloo from The Jungle Book. Even better are Solomon's predominantly watercolor illustrations, which often employ a funny, multiexposure effect to convey Ol' Bear's relentlessness as he traverses the countryside, and exude a honeyed sense of color, place, and character. A recipe for the pie appears on the final pages. Ages 3-7. (July)
Children's Literature - Nancy Garhan Attebury
Bear wakes up wanting to eat Ugly Pie only to discover that he does not have the ingredients to make one. So the disappointed Bear sets off on a journey to find the pie he is craving. He comes to Grampa Grizzles's house and smells the sweet aroma of a pie baking. However, Grampa has no Ugly Pie, only pumpkin. Bear declines the offer of fresh pumpkin pie and instead takes the only ugly thing Grampa can give him—a clump of wrinkled red raisins. Bear continues his search, comes to Ma Hickory's house and smells pie. But Ma Hickory only has a fresh rhubarb pie to offer. It's not to Bear's liking either, so he takes the ugliest thing Ma can offer—sour green apples. Next stop for Bear is Sweet Cicely's house. He smells pie. Again there is no Ugly Pie, only Cicely's heavenly honey pie. Bear turns it down and takes Cicely's present of ugly, bumpy brown walnuts. Bear heads home and dumps the ugly gifts on the table. When he does, he sees that by adding his own molasses he has all the ingredients for Ugly Pie. He stirs up a pie, and the enticing smell brings his neighbors to his door. Bear gladly shares his delicious, fresh-baked Ugly Pie. Fantastic, humorous illustrations capture the author's clever words to make this book a perfect read-aloud. Catchy phrases throughout the text are sure to please youngsters who will ask for several readings of this well-crafted book. An added plus is a recipe for scrumptious Ugly Pie that follows the text. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal
Gr 2—"Sweet molasses, my-oh-my. I'm itchin' for some Ugly Pie!" sings Ol' Bear as he sets out in search of one. Grampa Grizzle, Ma Hickory, and Sweet Cicely have all baked some good-looking treats—pumpkin, rhubarb, and heavenly honey pie—but not one is what Ol' Bear has a hankerin' for. However, they do provide him with some ugly leftovers from their kitchens—wrinkled red raisins, bumpy brown walnuts, and sour green apples. Ol' Bear goes home and realizes that he now has the ingredients for a wonderful Ugly Pie and sets about making one, and his neighbors all come to help him eat it. Large, bright watercolors, acrylics, and collage trace the bear's search as he goes from house to house. Tucked in every corner of the pictures are little woodland creatures that accompany him on his way, help him bake, and eat the final result: "My-oh-my-oh-my! Some Ugly Pie!" The recipe is appended with clear directions and the admonition that "cubs in the kitchen should always have a big bear around while cookin'." This humorous tale should appeal greatly to little cubs everywhere.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.20(d)
AD670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

LISA WHEELER has written many irresistible read-aloud picture books, including the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor-winning Jazz Baby, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. She lives in Trenton, Michigan.

HEATHER SOLOMON has illustrated many picture books, and she was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for her work in Clever Beatrice by Margaret Willey. She lives in Louisiana.

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