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Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men (2015)

Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingerbread Men
Written by Alyssa Gengeri

Illustrated by Chiara Civati

Mascot Books

The weather outside is frightful, and Mimi has the day off from school. Initially, she is excited to rush outside and make snow angels, have snowball fights... However, her mom still has to  go to work of course, and so Mimi and her little brother, Danny are off to her grandmother's house - or,  Nonni, as they call her.

I like those small details that fill in the minimalist world of the picture book. Too often, parents in picture books don't seem to actually work for a living, they're just always there when the story needs them to be, absent when they're not narrative needed. But with just a couple of sentences, part of the background of Mimi's life is sketched in with some realism.

A quick jaunt through the snowy city, and they've arrived at Nonni's. Now that we've seen a bit of the outside world, people walking with hats and mittens and earmuffs while large flakes fall all around, the interior of Nonni's home seems all the more warm and inviting, exactly the place you'd want to spend your snow day.The activity for the day? Yup, baking gingerbread men.

Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingergread Men

This is the third title in the Mimi's Adventures in Baking series, each one focusing on baking a different item. Chocolate chip cookies and 'allergy-friendly treats' were the previous entries. The author gives the complete recipe, and then shows Mimi and Nonni as they follow it step-by-step.

While Nonni preheated the oven to 325 degrees, Mimi measures 3/4 cup of brown sugar, packed it down tight, and poured it into the mixing bowl. Next, she measured 3/4 cup of soft butter, added it to the sugar, and blended them together until creamy.

Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingergread Men

Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingergread Men

Alyssa Generi, the author, is no stranger to the world of baking. She's an accomplished pastry chef in New York City. She's writing these books to inspire children to bake, and to show them that cooking is something that can bring the generations together, as it does Mimi and Nonni. I found it to be a very warm, earnest story. There is no conflict, and the only thing at stake is a pressing desire for sweet, baked treats, which is achieved in spades.

Mimi's Adventures in Baking Gingergread Men

Alyssa Gengeri
The author, at work

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