B Is for Bagel

The Collective Book Studio. Feb. 2022. 40p. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781951412470.
PreS-Gr 2–The versatility of the bagel is celebrated in this specific and charming alphabet book. The first pages describe the process of making bagels in rhyming text rich with sensory descriptions. Next is the alphabet section, which has a bright and consistent design that will appeal to young readers. Centered on pastel backgrounds are life-size photographs of bagels in their various iterations. Arching above the bagel is the letter identification, and curving underneath is a brisk description that rhymes with the adjacent page: “C is for Cinnamon Raisin/ slightly spiced and sweet,” pairs with “D is for Dark Rye/ with smoked fish, it’s a treat.” The book closes with a pair of detailed recipes, for traditional and quick bagels, with a reminder to bake with an adult. While very focused in subject, this book has the potential to appeal to a wide range of readers. Toddlers will enjoy the colors, design, and rhymes, while older children and adults may be inspired to create their own bagel masterpieces. The photographs are detailed and highly appealing. While the history and Jewish cultural significance of bagels are not explored in this book, repeated use of the word “schmear” and references to foods like whitefish salad and lox certainly provide opportunities to open those discussions. This book is likely to get more traction when shelved with alphabet books or general picture books than in the nonfiction section.
VERDICT This winsome alphabet book, both informative and appetizing, is recommended for general purchase.

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