cover image The Hole Story of the Doughnut

The Hole Story of the Doughnut

Pat Miller, illus. by Vincent X. Kirsch. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-31961-5

Playful cartoons and dramatic narration tell the true tale of a New England mariner turned doughnut inventor. Hanson Gregory, a cook’s assistant aboard a schooner out of Maine in 1847, prepares the usual breakfast of fried cakes, called sinkers because “their raw centers, heavy with grease, made them drop like cannonballs in the stomach.” In this aside (set within Gregory’s larger biographical narrative), he removes the gooey centers one morning before frying the cakes, resulting in a welcome—and fully cooked—breakfast. In colorful scenes that evoke 1970s Schoolhouse Rock vignettes, Kirsch (Gingerbread for Liberty!) depict rows of wide-mouthed seafarers with entire doughnuts between their open jaws; later, sailors enter Gregory’s mother’s harbor-side doughnut shop stooped over and exit dancing jigs on the other side, “holey cakes” in hand. Mimicking Gregory’s ring-cutting innovation, the book’s memorable design takes large circular cuts out of Kirsch’s vibrant watercolors, transplanting the circles to the facing pages while leaving behind an empty frame for Miller’s (Substitute Groundhog) text. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis. (May)