Review Blog

Dec 22 2016

The baker's dozen by Aaron Shepard

cover image

Ill. by Wendy Edelson. Shepard Publications, 2010. ISBN 9780938497486
Van Amsterdam the baker was well known for his honesty as well as for his fine Saint Nicholas cookies, which were made of gingerbread and iced just as people imagine St Nicholas to look like. When he made the cookies he weighed his ingredients meticulously and always gave his customers exactly what they paid for - not more, and not less. They were very happy and Van Amsterdam was very successful.
But one day a mysterious old woman in a black shawl came into the shop and demanded that Van Amsterdam give her thirteen biscuits because that was how many were in a 'baker's dozen'. Van Amsterdam refused so the old woman left without her cookies but as she left she told Van Amsterdam 'Fall again, mount again, learn how to count again.'
From that day, business went downhill and Van Amsterdam was left almost penniless and with no customers. Then one night he is visited by St Nicholas in a dream and he learns a lesson about being generous.
This is a retelling of an old tale that goes back into history with the first recorded version being noted in 1896. Accompanied by exquisite illustrations it brings yet another legend associated with Christmas to life and underscores the need to be unselfish at this time. It includes a recipe for St Nicholas cookies and a Readers Theatre script.
Something a little different.
Barbara Braxton

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