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Gingersnap Paperback – January 7, 2014
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Toward the end of World War II, orphaned Jayna lives with her older brother, Rob, a cook in the navy. He ships out for the Pacific, leaving her in their landlady’s care. When his ship is sunk and he is listed as missing, Jayna fears that Rob will never return. Hoping to find a grandmother she has never known, she runs away to nearby Brooklyn, where she is taken in by a kind lady who runs a bakery. Throughout the novel, a ghost resembling Jayna sometimes speaks to her, appears to her, or acts on her behalf. As in the Newbery Honor Book Lily’s Crossing (1997) and its companion book Willow Run (2005), Giff offers an accessible chapter book with highly individual characters and a convincing picture of life on the home front. Jayna often makes soup, and related recipes appear between chapters. Though parts of the story seem as improbable as daydreams, readers will be swept along by Jayna’s first-person narrative and moved by the novel’s ending. Grades 4-6. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2012:
“Jayna’s journey is a memorable one.”
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Top customer reviews
No details here to spoil a story of a child fortunate to enounter caring adults. Enough, I hope, to say that in the current dark literature of children disturbed and misbehaving and irresponsible adults, this small book is welcome. It does not preach or oversell. It is simply a good story for young people who still have faith that dreams -- even at 85 percent fulfillment -- can be made to work and change a life.
Give it with full confidence to any child. Or read it yourself with satisfaction.
I liked the simple and delightful recipes included. It truly was a heartwarming story with lots of good messages.
This is a YA offering and while the plot and outcome are somewhat predictable to an adult, young readers should find this offering most appealing as Janya journeys to Brooklyn in the company of a couple of unusual companions and a cookbook containing a name and address as well as a picture of a bakery called Gingersnap. Is this a coincidence or is there some connection between her nickname and the name of the bakery? Who is the owner of the bakery? Is Rob still alive? Will she and her brother be reunited? How does soothing soup (a true comfort dish) figure into the Jayna's story?
The author's ability to depict the uncertainty of the war years and the naivety and unprotected vulnerability of a child is genuinely heart-warming and captivating. Ultimately, all is revealed, including the recipes for some tasty soups. 3 ½ stars
Published by: Wendy Lamb Books
Age Recommended: Children 10 +
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Book Blog For: GMTA
"Gingersnap" by Patricia Reilly Giff was a very well written read that will give us some historical history that was going on during WWII. Along with this being a family read it does have some ghost issues. This author is a wonderful story teller being about to take you so a different time. This was during a time in history WWII when a brother (Rob)after becoming of age, had been taking care of his sister (Jayna) nicknamed 'Gingersnap.' Rob is called to duty and has to leave his dear sister who had once been in foster care, now in the care of a landlady, Celine. All was well until a tragedy happens to Rob's vessel sunk in the 'Battle of Okinawa' and once again Jayna is feeling alone. Jayna had been told by her brother about a 'cookbook' that had the name and address of a bakery called Gingersnap...so what will she do with this information? Is her brother alive and will they be united? Who is this owner of this bakery? What was the ghost all about? What's up with the soups..."Don't Think About it Soup" or "Feel Better Vegetable Soup." This is where I way you must pick up this good read to see what all is going to happen with Jayna. All of these questions will be answered from your read. The characters were all well developed and interesting.
"Gingersnap" was a wonderful read of 'family, hope, courage and food.' Would I recommend this read? Yes! Be ready to enjoy a excellent read.