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Gingersnap



by
Patricia Reilly Giff

Edition
Library edition with trade jacket added
Publisher
Random House
Imprint
Wendy Lamb
ISBN
9780375938917

Awards and Honors
William Allen White Children#8217;s Book Awards 2015–2016 Master List
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
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QTY
Out of stock

1944: With little more than a recipe book, a pet turtle, and an address in faraway Brooklyn, Jayna goes searching for family while her brother is away at war. Includes recipes.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

160

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Dewey

Fic

AR

3.8: points 4

Lexile

540L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

7

JLG Release

Mar 2013

Book Genres


Topics

Brothers and sisters. Family life. Orphans. World War II (1939-1945). Cooking and baking. Missing in action. Ghosts. New York State.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Jayna and her older brother have lived together in a rented house ever since Rob was legally old enough to take custody after their parents’ death. Both are adept in the kitchen: the 11-year-old specializes in soup; Rob is now a Navy cook preparing to join a destroyer crew in the Pacific. He has arranged for Jayna to live with their landlady, Celine, while he is deployed. Jayna’s narration is fresh, honest, and plausible as she describes how she is guided by a voice, perhaps a ghost, but certainly a helpful presence. When she and Celine are notified that Rob is missing in action, Jayna leaves upstate New York for the long trek to Brooklyn. There, armed only with an old inscribed cookbook with an address, encouragement from the ghost, and the company of a turtle named Theresa, she hopes to locate their grandmother. Though she doesn’t find her, she connects with her own family history to discover that she has relatives, friends, and a future. Near the end of the war, Rob returns with a bit of help from the ghost suggested, perhaps a bit conveniently but satisfying nonetheless. Jayna’s understanding of the complexity and kindness of others grows as she does, providing fuller characterizations. While the story is set during World War II, the separation of families and fear of loss in this novel is very contemporary. Jayna’s soup recipes placed between chapters reflect her concerns and triumphs in this gratifying story of hope, faith, and family ties. —Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

Horn Book

In 1945 upstate New York, Jayna is distraught when her older brother, Rob, is deployed to Japan. Rob is the only family she has; their parents were killed in a car accident when Jayna was a baby, and now she’s in the care of a stern neighbor. Soon after Rob leaves, Jayna starts hearing the voice of a ghost girl—who points her to a tattered notebook containing handwritten recipes, a photo of a woman standing in front of a bakery, and an address in Brooklyn. After receiving the devastating news that Rob is missing in action, Jayna sets off to locate the woman in the picture, Elise, whom she thinks is her grandmother. Things don’t turn out exactly the way Jayna expected, but she finds new friends who come together to act as a strong support system for her. Giff’s well-wrought setting depicts the difficulties of home-front life without losing sight of its glimmers of comfort. Food rations notwithstanding, the main characters share talents for baking and cooking, and the warmth of their relationships is rewardingly reflected in sensory descriptions of Rob’s thick gravies, Elise’s fresh-baked pastries, and Jayna’s steaming soups (recipes for “Hope Soup,” “Waiting Soup,” “Welcome-Home Soup,” etc., appear throughout the book). The ghost’s presence adds an element of mystery (left unsolved) that leaves room for instances of chance and serendipity to occur in the midst of the story’s wartime milieu. elissa gershowitz

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Jayna and her older brother have lived together in a rented house ever since Rob was legally old enough to take custody after their parents’ death. Both are adept in the kitchen: the 11-year-old specializes in soup; Rob is now a Navy cook preparing to join a destroyer crew in the Pacific. He has arranged for Jayna to live with their landlady, Celine, while he is deployed. Jayna’s narration is fresh, honest, and plausible as she describes how she is guided by a voice, perhaps a ghost, but certainly a helpful presence. When she and Celine are notified that Rob is missing in action, Jayna leaves upstate New York for the long trek to Brooklyn. There, armed only with an old inscribed cookbook with an address, encouragement from the ghost, and the company of a turtle named Theresa, she hopes to locate their grandmother. Though she doesn’t find her, she connects with her own family history to discover that she has relatives, friends, and a future. Near the end of the war, Rob returns with a bit of help from the ghost suggested, perhaps a bit conveniently but satisfying nonetheless. Jayna’s understanding of the complexity and kindness of others grows as she does, providing fuller characterizations. While the story is set during World War II, the separation of families and fear of loss in this novel is very contemporary. Jayna’s soup recipes placed between chapters reflect her concerns and triumphs in this gratifying story of hope, faith, and family ties. —Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

Horn Book

In 1945 upstate New York, Jayna is distraught when her older brother, Rob, is deployed to Japan. Rob is the only family she has; their parents were killed in a car accident when Jayna was a baby, and now she’s in the care of a stern neighbor. Soon after Rob leaves, Jayna starts hearing the voice of a ghost girl—who points her to a tattered notebook containing handwritten recipes, a photo of a woman standing in front of a bakery, and an address in Brooklyn. After receiving the devastating news that Rob is missing in action, Jayna sets off to locate the woman in the picture, Elise, whom she thinks is her grandmother. Things don’t turn out exactly the way Jayna expected, but she finds new friends who come together to act as a strong support system for her. Giff’s well-wrought setting depicts the difficulties of home-front life without losing sight of its glimmers of comfort. Food rations notwithstanding, the main characters share talents for baking and cooking, and the warmth of their relationships is rewardingly reflected in sensory descriptions of Rob’s thick gravies, Elise’s fresh-baked pastries, and Jayna’s steaming soups (recipes for “Hope Soup,” “Waiting Soup,” “Welcome-Home Soup,” etc., appear throughout the book). The ghost’s presence adds an element of mystery (left unsolved) that leaves room for instances of chance and serendipity to occur in the midst of the story’s wartime milieu. elissa gershowitz

Grades 3-5
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