cover image The Unbeatable Bread

The Unbeatable Bread

Lyn Littlefield Hoopes. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1611-7

Hoopes (Half a Button) concocts a catchy, image-rich rhyming text, with a tempo that rises and drifts and winds like the aroma of Uncle Jon's ""unbeatable bread"" as it wafts its way through a sleepy town. ""It whispered 'round snowmen/ stooped under trees,/ and whistled in hives of honeybees,/ rose into bedrooms,/ rumbled in snores,/ and crept with the spiders over nursery doors."" Aunt Lucy's admonitions (""Uncle Jon, you've baked enough!"") are in vain when Uncle Jon decides to create a bread made of ""the yellow of the morning sun,"" ""a whistle in the wind"" and ""clouds on the run."" Sneed (When the Fly Flew In) catches the mood with fanciful compositions. Humorous, subtle exaggerations in perspective and of facial and body features offset the muted tones of his densely layered oil palette. Genial, rotund Uncle Jon tiptoes with the grace of a ballet dancer when reaching for his precious ingredients. After the buildup, one expects the bread to be or look like something more than an ordinary, golden loaf. With the arrival of clamoring children, pets and forest creatures drawn to its scent, however, its crowd-pleasing properties are undeniable. The same could be said of this warm-as-toast tale. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)