I’m ashamed to say that until very recently I had no idea that Allan Ahlberg was still writing new books. We’re so very familiar with the classics that he wrote in the 80’s with his wife; Peepo and Each Peach Pair Plum being firm favourites, and favourites that I remember from my own childhood, that I think I’d rather chalked him up as being ‘of my youth’. Oops. Many apologies both to him and to my children in case they feel they’ve missed out on a whole treasury of wonderful stories.
Because whilst there are no more Janet and Allan Ahlberg collaborations, it hasn’t stopped the wordsmith half of the partnership from continuing to write, and I think there must be almost as many Allan Ahlberg books to discover as Allan and Janet books.
Hooray for Bread was only published last year, with Bruce Ingman providing the illustrations, the story of a day in the life of a loaf of bread from the warm crust smothered with butter by the baker (which incidentally is my absolute favourite way to eat homemade bread), to the eggs and soldiers for tea, the crumbs on the breadboard tossed out to the birds in the trees, and the final solitary crumb scooped up by a very tiny and rather hungry little mouse scampering through the bakery at night in search of a tasty morsel.
It’s such a sweet story to read, with the kind of beautiful rhymes that you would expect from its author, and the refrain “hooray for bread!” that repeats through the story, and just as easily learnt by little listeners as “here’s a little baby, one two three” was in its turn.
The illustrations are gorgeous too; Bruce Ingman has a looser illustrative style than Janet Ahlberg, but there’s a consistency in the colour palette used and in the detail of the bakery and the characters’ clothes that gives it that same timelessness. In short, it still feels like an Ahlberg book.
But before you rush out to hunt down a copy I should stress that there is one caveat to all this praise, one potential downside to such a lovely book – it will also really really make you want to go and make a loaf of bread, and then eat it fresh from the oven with butter, and laced with jam for tea. Don’t say you weren’t warned – now where did I put the yeast?
I’m obviously continuing an unintentional culinary theme as last week Anne-Marie found year another Julia Donaldson that I’ve yet to come across in the form of the wonderful looking Troll; any story that starts with pirates and a troll being fed up with their food and going on a treasure hunt to find enough treasure to buy a recipe book is always going to have me from the first page!
So if you have a favourite, please do share it with us; each linky stays open for a week so there’s plenty of time to join in. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you!