You know how much I love all things Allan Ahlberg and, while Janet and Jessica Ahlberg are my favorite illustrators of his work, frequent collaborator Bruce Ingman does a fantastic job capturing the absurdities and silliness of Ahlberg's stories. This is definitely the case with HOORAY for BREAD, a rhyming story that is both a paean to this staple food and a look at where a loaf starts and ends. While I think that Americans definitely have an intense relationship with carbs, somehow it seems like the British have a special relationship with a loaf of bread, or at least toast. HOORAY for BREAD begins, "This is the tale of a loaf of bread / From the day that it was born / In a baker's oven, baking hot / On a cold and frosty morn." We see the baker eat the first slice, he loves "its crusty crunchiness." Next, his wife enjoys a piece of toast in bed as the sunlight shines in the room and the baby begins to wake up.
Sandwiches are made and bits are shared with the happy dogs, while Mom and the baby take a slice to the park to feed the ducks.
When the loaf is finished, the "crumbs are on the breadboard / The window's open wide / Thebeady birds are waiting / On the garden wall outside." Then comes a version of the refrain of the poem that is threaded through the rhyme, "HOORAY - TWEET, TWEET - FOR BREAD!"
Finally, the day is done and the loaf is seemingly gone, crumbs and all, but there's one morsel left that "ends up in the tummy / Of a teeny, tiny mouse." A fantastic cutaway of the Baker's house and shop, everything tidied, clean and quiet for the night, accompanies the illustration below. And, because this is an Allan Ahlberg book, there are two slices of bread that ran off hand in hand early on in the life of the loaf with the narrator promising to tell the reader more about these errant slices - in time.
Source: Review Copy
And, for those of you who like silly songs: BREAD by Charlie McDonnell