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- ISBN-13: 9780375838910
- ISBN-10: 0375838910
- Publisher: Random House Childrens Books
- Publish Date: January 2013
- Page Count: 149
- Reading Level: Ages 8-UP
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-11-19
- Reviewer: Staff
Giff smoothly intertwines threads of loss, displacement, hope, family, and the soothing power of food (especially soup) in a quiet but emotionally charged novel set during WWII. Jayna—nicknamed Gingersnap by her mother, who died in a car accident along with the girl’s father—feels understandably alone after her only relative, her older brother Rob, goes missing while serving in the Navy. Inspired by items from her mother’s past that she finds, and urged on by the voice of a ghost, Jayna packs up the turtle she’s adopted and runs away from upstate New York to Brooklyn. The ghost (who Jayna believes to be her mother) promises to help her find a family, and Giff’s deft plotting leads the girl to find just that, in surprising and satisfying ways. The pacing falters occasionally—it takes Jayna a while to share information that she knows links her to the kindly bakery owner who takes her in—but Jayna’s yearning to belong and desperate longing for her brother’s safe return give this story its soulful core. Ages 9–12. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.)
The secrets in a little recipe book
In Gingersnap, Newbery Honor winner Patricia Reilly Giff returns to the Brooklyn of her childhood to tell the heartwarming story of a young girl during World War II.
Since her parents’ death in a car accident, Jayna has been under the care of her brother, Rob. But Rob is called up for duty, leaving Jayna with Celine, their landlady.
When a telegram arrives, the news is terrifying: Rob is missing in action. Unable to face a loveless future as a burden to Celine, Jayna decides to take matters into her own hands. With her pet turtle in a cat carrier, Jayna boards a bus from upstate New York to Brooklyn. She is following clues in her mother’s old recipe book, which tell of a bakery called Gingersnap. Could a grandmother she has never known live there?
Evoking the sights, sounds and tastes of neighborhoods from a time gone by, Gingersnap was a labor of love for Giff, whose inspirations included memories of her grandfather.
Readers are often introduced to WWII through stories of combat. Gingersnap offers an evocative picture of life on the home front.