cover image Forri the Baker

Forri the Baker

Edward Myers, Ed Myers. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1396-3

The value of ingenuity and the rewards of nonconformity inform this handsome picture book, which brims with old-world charm. The villagers of Ettai are suspicious of the culinary creativity of Forri the Baker, rejecting his masterpieces--pens and candles, roses and nails, all made of dough--and forcing him into poverty. But when the barbarians known as Chlars threaten to invade Ettai and take the townsfolk prisoner, Forri arms the citizenry with loaves of bread shaped into swords, pikes, bows and arrows, thus duping the Chlars into thinking they're overmatched and beating a swift retreat. First-time children's author Myers's traditional, well-crafted narrative is tinged with humor and embellished with spry imagery (``he wore a shapeless white cloth cap that sagged over his head like a mass of unbaked dough''). Natchev's (The Hobyahs) striking artwork skillfully blends watercolors and colored pencils, fleshing out the story with a wealth of textures, shading and detail. The warm palette of oranges, reds and browns is subtly nuanced with flecks of charcoal pencil. As satisfying as a slice of freshly baked bread. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)