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THE BREAD PET by Kate DePalma


A Sourdough Story

by Kate DePalma ; illustrated by Nelleke Verhoeff

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-64686-064-7
Publisher: Barefoot Books

Cora’s uncle JB comes to visit and leaves her with a curious bread pet that nearly takes over the house.

It’s a sourdough starter. JB explains how to feed the hungry, bubbling goo that lives in a glass jar, dashing off and forgetting to give her one critical bit of information: to keep the starter in the refrigerator. It keeps growing, and little by little, the house she shares with her mothers sees bread pets burbling in multiple bowls all over the kitchen. Mum eventually convinces Cora that they should bake some of the bread. Even though the first loaf is imperfect, finally they produce a perfect loaf and share it with people at the community hall. The next day, Mum, Mama, and Cora deliver their many jars of gooey starter to the hall so that those who enjoyed the bread can start their own bread pets and eventually bake their own bread. This exploration into the mysterious world of sourdough starter could not have come at a more appropriate time, as Covid-19 has cooped-up households baking bread, with children at home getting in on the process. Cora’s story carefully illustrates the starter and baking processes, preparing junior bakers for their first loaves. In Verhoeff’s comfortably stylized illustrations, Cora and Mama seem to be Black; Mum and JB present White; the folks at the community hall are racially and ethnically diverse.

This timely book will prove useful for home-based lessons in science, math, and, of course, baking.

(instructions, recipe, further information) (Picture book. 5-9)