Hooray for bread by Allan Ahlberg

cover image

Ill. by Bruce Ingham. Walker Books, 2013.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Poetry. Bread. Bread from its baking to the last crumb is shown in this homage to the baker and his family. If you don't want to go out and buy some flour and try your skills at the end, then I am sure many children will be clamouring to try it for themselves. What an introduction to the baking of bread in the classroom or at home, an introduction to the place of bread in our lives, as well as a wonderful book to read aloud, with its rhyming verses, tempting children to try to find a rhyming word, predicting the outcome of the verse, or trying to write a new verse for themselves. How ever it is used, it is a delight and will cause legions of children to want to eat some bread. So have some ready.
The opening pages will surprise some readers. The title and publication pages do not come up at the start, but instead the first four pages are devoted to the early riser, the baker, and his shop is shown in all of its glory as he brings out the loaf of bread which will take the central spot in the rest of the book. From the bakery, the bread comes home, where the first slice is taken by the baker, the second to the wife, and the next two are made into a sandwich for his son, with a bit for his dog. We read of how each slice has a place in the household, down to the little mouse which takes the very last crumb.
The stunning pages present the scene of the baker and his family with warmth, the watercolour illustrations giving a glowing quality to each scene. The illustrations will be scanned by the reader, looking for the bread which has a position on every page as well as the small details included in the unfussy pages.
Fran Knight