A for concept, creativity, and colors; thoughts on “B is for Bagel” by Rachel Teichman

“B is for Bagel” by Rachel Teichman

When I learned about “B is for Bagel” by Rachel Teichman, the idea of cookbooks for children hit me like a novel notion. Then I remembered that three decades ago I received a “Superheroes’ Cookbook” when I was a young teenager. (I haven’t thought of that book for a long time, so I tracked it down and it turns out it is worth $100 now. I have no idea where my copy is now, not that I would want to sell it.) So while the kids’ cookbook idea may not be original–there seems to be over 60,000 of them on Amazon–combining it with an ABC book is unique. Therefore I definitely give an “A” for the concept to the author, in today’s world, when it is hard to come up with an original idea because so many ideas are already out there. In case you have doubts: it has the full English alphabet, a page per letter AND it is a real cookbook. The first four pages book provides a fun, rhyming version of a recipe for bagels that one would share with young kids. In the last four pages we can find the proper recipe for two kinds of bagel, in smaller font, with the warning: “Be sure an adult is on hand to help, especially with any boiling or baking.”

Lots of people have ideas, but to make them happen takes dedication and resources. The author ran a successful crowdsourcing campaign raising the necessary funds. That was not the only thing that required creativity: coming up with a word for every letter that is associated with a bagel. I have been eating bagels for a long time, but as I never heard or ate some of these before, they felt a bit stretched for me: dark rye, vanilla berry, or za’atar. This latter is one of my favorite spices so I will make sure to try a bagel with it. The two most surprising terms were the page for “q”–quick bagel, for which the book also includes a recipe– and for “y”, yeast, where the accompanying photo is this substance arranged in a bagel shape. Nice execution. Another “A”, this time for creativity.

The color theme of the project is rather pleasant. Each bagel is pictured on a solid background of one of 6 colors. The text–going in a circle around the round bagel image–is all black except the white initial letter that the page is about. The whole page is appetizingly designed. Even the bagels’ colors could surprise me: both the unicorn and the rainbow bagels have lots of bright colors. The major difference is that unicorns have white in them, while the rainbow doesn’t. I am not sure I would want to eat them or play with them, but looking at these was fun and will be for the young readers. The third “A” I can give out for this book is for colors.

“The proof of the pudding(bagel?) is in the tasting”, so I read the book with my 7-year-old daughter, who loves plain bagel with cream cheese. We finished the book rather fast for three reasons. Sorry to report that she found it a bit boring, because she already knows her ABCs and because the images seemed a bit monotone to her. She is more used to ABC books, where each page has a significantly different image. Here they were all visually similar so it didn’t hold her attention that much. Also, we were reading a digital copy on my computer screen and she was missing the tactile experience of holding the book (or a bagel.) Make sure you don’t sit down reading this book on an empty stomach, because if you do–and if you like bagels– you will get hungry thanks to the mouthwatering pictures by Rebecca Wright. I suspect this was the main reason my daughter wanted to get over it fast and head for a kitchen for a snack, and yes preferably a bagel.

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Disclaimer: I have received an electronic copy of this book from the author which did not affect my review in any way.

Year first published: 2022

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