Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch
German-born Christopher Ludwick had come to the Colonies as a young man looking for the opportunity to create his own bakery. He did just that, creating gorgeous gingerbread for his town. When the Revolutionary War began, he was eager to defend his America in any way he could, so he headed off to join General George Washington. When he got there, the soldiers were hungry and complaining about the quality of food they were getting. Ludwick jumped into action, feeing the armies bread from his ovens. But the dangers weren’t done yet. The King of England pulled together armies from other countries and sent them into battle. The soldiers came from Germany and Ludwick offered to see if he could convince them not to fight. Once again it was food and the promise of having enough to eat that convinced the soldiers to lay down their arms. Many battles later, the war was won, but Ludwick and General Washington had one final mammoth baking task ahead of them.
Rockliff keeps the tone of this book quite lighthearted even as Ludwick finds himself taking grave risks with his life. The writing is jolly and merry throughout. The tone suits this baker whose optimism shines on the page and whose patriotism seemed to know no limits. His accomplishments exceed what is shown in this picture book. Make sure to read the Author’s Note at the end of the book to learn more about this amazing patriot and what he did for children and education as well as liberty.
Kirsch’s illustrations are a gingery delight. Done in the forms of elaborate gingerbread cookies, the characters are shown as flat brown cookies with plenty of icing. From the brown outlines to the white lines of icing, there is no mistaking what they are meant to be. They too add a sweet and optimistic feel to this jolly picture book.
An unsung hero of the Revolutionary War and beyond, this picture book celebrates the impact that one man can have in making history. Appropriate for ages 6-8.
Reviewed from library copy.