Fairy tale meets math lesson in this unconventional picture book.
The Queen of Bread bakes delicious loaves of bread that are famous throughout the land. Unfortunately, when she tries to teach her three daughters her craft, none are interested. One day, the queen falls ill and begs her daughters to bake bread in her place. However, since they didn’t pay attention to the queen’s lessons, they have no clue what measurements to use. The breads come out of the oven “tasteless and ugly.” Soon, the neighboring kingdoms refuse to buy their bread anymore, and the entire Bread Kingdom grows poor. The princesses are full of regret. Then lo and behold, their Fairy Godmother appears, giving them a book filled with recipes that teach them to measure with a ruler, a measuring cup, and a scale. Once they put their new skills to use, they are able to save the kingdom and their mother. With the stakes confined to loaves of bread, the tale struggles to rise, and the dark, somber colors and unpolished illustrations are hardly appealing. The story’s teaching mission overwhelms it, interrupting the narrative with preachy sidebars, and the backmatter is a treatise on the importance of measuring tools and math exercises. The characters in this Korean import have pale skin and straight, black hair.
“A” for effort and good intentions, but the execution leaves much to be desired. (Picture book. 4-9)