Rockliff and Kirsch introduce a lesser-known figure who demonstrated patriotic fire by baking bread for the Continental Army.
It is fitting that throughout the tale our hero is simply called the baker—curious youngsters only learn his name, Christopher Ludwick, in the closing author’s note. Brisk, playful text sketches Ludwick’s life and cheerful, generous nature. Although too “old and fat” to fight, when he learns the troops are hungry, “[t]he baker roll[s] up his sleeves. ‘No empty bellies here,’ he [tells] General Washington. ‘Not in my America!’ ” This is his refrain, and it is clear that this German immigrant, a gingerbread baker by trade, believes in liberty and opportunity. In fact, he volunteers to share this information with the foreign soldiers who arrive on our shores. Children must infer they are Hessians, a detail later confirmed in the author’s note. Bright watercolor illustrations resemble decorated gingerbread and burst across the double-page spreads as if barely able to contain this spirited patriot and his enormous contribution. The author’s note provides more information about Ludwick’s life and philanthropic efforts.
This appealing concoction is a powerful reminder of the good one person can do. (sources, recipe) (Informational picture book. 5-9)