Ginger Bear

Ginger Bear by Mini Grey.

One can’t go wrong with a picture book by Mini Grey, author of The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon and Traction Man Is Here!

Ginger Bear was published in Great Britain in 2004, but has just made its debut here in the United States.  The story is about Horace who gets a lump of dough from his mother and a bear-shaped cookie cutter.  Horace gives the bear eyes and a nose out of currants and plans to eat it right away.  But things keep delaying him eating the cookie until finally he has to put it next to his pillow and plan on eating it the next morning.  But in the night, Ginger Bear wakes up.  He heads to the kitchen and makes an assortment of friends out of dough and decorations.  They create a circus right in the kitchen but disaster strikes and Ginger Bear is forced to find a place that is safe for a cookie to be.

I loved this book.  Like the other picture books Grey has done, this one has humor that is spot on.  I laughed out loud at what Horace usually does with dough his mother gives him.  When he brings it back “it was deep gray and fluffy (and quite a lot smaller.)”  Grey’s illustrations are also wonderful.  I especially enjoyed the horror of Ginger Bear looking down at the disaster in the kitchen.  Tragic but also very funny. 

I would recommend this picture book for slightly older readers.  Kindergarteners and first graders will enjoy it, but second and third graders will get all of the sly wit.  If you are doing a cooking unit in your classroom, I would have this ready to read as they munch afterwards.  It also makes for a very un-Christmasy holiday read.  Definitely one you want to seek out and read.  It’s a real treat.

Lowry Interview

School Library Journal has an interview with Lois Lowry in their latest magazine (it is also available online.)  Lowry is one of my favorite authors, as I have probably mentioned here before.  Her Giver and Gossamer are both truly stunning novels that open young readers up to new worlds.  The interview focuses primarily on The Giver, which is a real treat.