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|Brother Giovanni's little reward : how the pretzel was born|
Author: Smucker, Anna Egan
Brother Giovanni is a happy man and the best baker his monastery has ever seen, but when he is tasked with preparing the children for the Bishop's visit, he has no luck until he twists some bread dough into a special shape, sprinkles it with salt, and offers it as a reward for learning prayers.
Kirkus Reviews (06/15/15)
School Library Journal (09/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2015 K-Gr 2— In this warmhearted story of invention, Brother Giovanni happily works in the monastery bakery, singing as he kneads his dough. Down the hall, all is not well in the classroom. The unruly children will not learn their prayers for the upcoming visit from the Bishop. The Abbot turns to the young and energetic monk for help. After several unsuccessful attempts to get through to the children, Brother Giovanni finally comes up with a solution. In the company of his orange tabby cat, the optimistic baker concocts a special treat, bread rolled and twisted into the shape of praying arms. He decides to call his creations pretiolas—little rewards. Bringing a basket of the freshly baked rolls to class, he instructs the children to fold their arms over their chests in the shape of the pretiolas and pray. Eager to sample the baked goods, the children do as he asks and learn their prayers. Beginning with eye-catching endpapers that portray Brother Giovanni riding from the monastery to a hilltop village, the cheerful illustrations welcome readers into the monk's medieval world. Executed in pastel watercolor inks and gouache, each scene reflects the warmth and ebullience exuded by the kind baker. In the style of illuminated manuscripts, many of the pictures are framed with elegant, decorative borders. A reader's note explaining the historical background of the legend and a recipe for soft pretzels are appended. VERDICT Read this delectable tale with Eric Carle's Walter the Baker (S. & S., 2014), another satisfying story of how the pretzel came to be.—Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.