Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cinnamon Baby

I loved this book for a multitude of reasons. The first of which are Janice Nadeau's delightful illustrations. Watercolors mixed with pencil drawings and paper collage create the perfect environment, with the addition of swirly curlicues tucked in everywhere: on the bridge, the flowers, the lamp post and even in the font. 

Illustrations aside, I also love that the story takes place in a bakery, the characters have unique names (Miriam and Sebastian), it is the woman who is the successful business owner, and an interracial couple is featured in a children's book. Plus, there are cinnamon buns.

Miriam is a baker who wears her crimson hair swirled into a thick bun, very much resembling a large cinnamon roll tucked at the back of her head. Each day she rides her bicycle to her own bakery that sports sweet pink and white striped awnings. Inside, she creates the most wonderful breads, singing joyfully as she works. It was the combination of the Miriam's scented bread and melodic voice that attracted Sebastian. He bought a loaf of bread every day for a year from The Alchemy Bakery before asking Miriam to be his wife.

And now that Sebastian and Miriam are expecting their first baby, the mama-to-be continues her routine of biking to work and singing while she works. She makes a variety of breads, but always saves the cinnamon bread for last, so that the smell will linger in the shop.

When their baby is born, it is a beautiful and perfect child (this is unsurprising, considering Sebastian can play his violin while riding a bicycle). And a loud one. The child refuses to stop crying. Miriam tries everything, Sebastian tries everything, but the baby continues to wail. Finally, Miriam has a brilliant idea. She scoops up the baby and they go directly to The Alchemy Bakery. When the cinnamon begins wafting through the air, the baby's cries stop. She truly is a Cinnamon Baby.   

The writing is every bit as enjoyable as the illustrations.  I love her description of the breads Miriam is making: "a spicy bread, studded with peppercorns and basil, and a sweet bread with ginger." When the baby is asleep, she describes him as "a little, wrinkled raisin." She uses the perfect phrasing to make you feel as though you are right there inside The Alchemy Bakery with Miriam and Sebastian. So wonderful!  

Review copy provided by Kids Can Press.

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