The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale
Aaron Shepard, Wendy Edelson (Illustrator)

Published by Skyhook Press, December 6, 2010

5 Stars

The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale (15th Anniversary Edition with Bonus Cookie Recipe and Pattern for St. Nicholas Cookies)

Synopsis: A holiday tale from colonial Dutch New York. Van Amsterdam, an honest man and a wonderful
baker, always sells dozens upon dozens of delicious Saint Nicholas cookies in his shop on Saint Nicholas Eve. When one of his customers insists that a dozen is 13, Van learns a lesson about the importance of being generous of spirit. Full color.

My Review: I loved this book. I have used the term baker’s dozen many times, but never really thought about the origin. This story is a version of how that came to be from an old story out of the Dutch in old New York.

VanAmsterdam is a very honest baker who always makes sure he gives each customer exactly what he pays for, no more and no less. He makes the best St. Nicholas cookies and is always extremely busy. One day, an old woman comes and asks for a dozen cookies, when he gives her twelve, she asks for thirteen saying that there are thirteen in a dozen. When he refuses to give in, she leaves disgruntled, and leaves him with bad luck. Unfortunately as he has more and more issues with his baking, he loses all his customers. He does not know what to do. Eventually the spirit of St. Nicholas helps him learn the joys of giving more than is expected.

The illustrations are amazing. They are true to the period, very bright and colourful and tell the story almost by themselves. They show the village, the people, the wonderful cookies, St. Nicolas and more. They are wonderful.

As other reviewers have mentioned, this book reads like a fairytale. There is the evil witch/villian, the villager who has bad luck caused by the villian, the wish or assistance of a greater being (fairy godmother, St. Nicholas etc) and a happy ending. The message that being generous and giving more than expected is a good one and very easy to see in the story.

This will be added to my holiday library for sure. I also can’t wait to try the recipe for the cookies that is included at the end of the story.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.