Monday, 29 April 2013

Hooray for Bread by Allan Ahlberg & Bruce Ingman

Hooray for Bread is a ryhming treat about the life of a loaf ... slice by slice.  From the first crusty piece cut by the baker's hand to the final two run away slices, it's a story of the people and animals who make the most of this scrumptious loaf.

There's a fun two page intro before the title page that sets the tone for this book.  E starts to get excited at this point as he knows the title page means a chance to shout the refrain: 'Hooray for bread!' ... and so it begins.

Each page introduces us to a new member of the baker's family and a new meal.  From toast with jam at breakfast to boiled egg and soldiers (that's little rectangles of toast for the non Brits) we join the baker's family for a day.  And their day includes, of course, lots of bread.

Every few pages there's a glorious scene where they feed their crumbs to friendly animals (dogs, ducks and birds). In response the animals bark, quack and tweet back with the chorus, 'Hooray for bread!'. The final crumb is consumed by a tiny mouse in a dark and quiet corner of the house: 'Hooray, squeak, squeak for bread!' it says. And those run away slices make an appearance in the very last two pages along with a symphony of other foods who in unison shout: 'Hooray, hooray for bread!'.

We've been having such fun with this book. The rhyming text gives it a nice singsong quality and reminds me a little of the 'Miss Susie had a steamboat' song we used to sing as kids. E identifies with the illustrations of feeding the ducks and birds and he spends a long time talking about the food on the final two pages. Each read he asks me what my favorite foods are and we have a good laugh over the illustration of the baked beans and their tiny little legs. And as an added bonus he's now curious about how bread is made and wants to bake a loaf of our own.

There's lots of joy in this simple story and I'll forewarn you that trips to the grocery store may never be the same if your little reader is at all like E. He now feels the need to shout 'Hooray for bread!' as we go down the bread aisle and he can spot a bakery in London from a mile away.

Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman are the talented duo behind this book.  You may be familiar with some of their other titles including The Runaway Dinner and The Pencil.

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