The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale (15th Anniversary Edition, with Bonus Cookie Recipe and Pattern for St. Nicholas Christmas Cookies) Paperback – Nov 29 2010
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A lush new version of a traditional tale... Well-chosen words and a nicely-paced text that begs to be told aloud. A treat for the holiday season. -- School Library Journal, Oct. 1995
A story with a message to be heard during the holidays and all year long. -- Children's Book Review
Aaron Shepard retells a favorite colonial legend with the voice of the storyteller. -- Jan Lieberman, TNT, Fall 1995 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Author
This book was an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, a Trumpet Book Club selection, and a listed title for Valerie and Walter's Best Books for Children. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I recommend it to any parent - especially if they live in the Albany, NY area.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I think this is the only story about St. Nicholas Day that I've come across (at least, in picture book form) and since we celebrated that as kids, I was delighted to discover it (thanks, Abigail!) The story is well-told and the illustrations are just marvelous. I especially love the first pages that show the sweet Dutch colonial village.
I appreciated many aspects of this story, and the overall message of generosity and giving more than is expected is a good one. However, I was a bit troubled by how it played out. I personally did not see anything wrong with the baker wanting to be fair regarding giving all customers exactly what they pay for. It did not seem to me that the old lady was particularly needy or destitute, just pushy, so why she should receive special treatment when other customers did not (or that the baker, simply because he had other cookies, had to give them away vs. reserving them for other paying customers or his own family) didn't really come across. The baker didn't really seem to commit any wrongdoing, in my opinion, and I felt the punishment was a bit harsh. Of course, the ultimate message is a good one but I felt it could have been delivered a bit better. Still, that is just my personal take and I am not docking any stars because I do think it was a well told story and beautifully illustrated.
I think this book is a nice change of pace for children who are already aware of who St. Nicholas is and his history as a bishop. This story is set in Albany, New York, probably in the 18th or 19th century. We just know that it was before modern times and certainly before the days of the super grocery stores!
The story centers on the baker, Van Amsterdam, a good baker and honest businessman who gives his customers exactly what they pay for, "not more and not less." Although that is very legal and very fair, it's not exactly fun is it? In the long run it also proves to be bad for business when a mysterious old woman enters the bakery and asks for 13 St. Nicholas Cookies and insists that 13 makes a dozen. When Van Amsterdam reiterates his motto and only gives her 12 cookies the old lady curses him as she leaves with the words, "Fall again, mount again, learn how to count again!"
After that Van Amsterdam's business falls off and his baking suffers. A dream of the good saint and his genorosity turn Van Amsterdam's heart around and changes his business practices. In the end he learns that a few freebies are actually good for business, and for his own heart!
The illustrations are colorful and interesting. My kids loved to look at the detail in them. This is another nice book to read during the Advent season!