A fanciful and inventive version of how those yummy big soft pretzels came to be.
Brother Giovanni is a monk of inveterate cheerfulness and a most excellent baker. But the bishop is coming, and the children don’t know their prayers: what to do? The abbot hopes that Brother Giovanni’s youth and smile will coax the children into learning. Brother Giovanni sings to them and allows them to dance at lessons, but that doesn’t work. He even tries Brother Jerome’s advice to put on a stern face (the montage of Giovanni’s attempts at stern faces is very funny). But after a night of sleeplessness and prayer, when he makes far too large a batch of dough, he folds and twists ropes of dough into the position of his arms at prayer and then offers the pretiolas as a reward. Everyone loves them and works hard at learning their prayers to earn the treat. While it was probably a monk who invented pretzels, no one knows for sure, as Smucker explains in a closing note. Hall sets the tale in a candy-colored place of well-scrubbed children; the small monastery is equipped with the requisite cat. Delightfully, a pretzel recipe is included.
As happy a piece of ecclesiastical cuisine as can be imagined (Picture book. 5-9)