Book Review: Saturdays and Teacakes

Rating: ★★★★★

This story, told in the voice of a nine- or ten-year-old boy, tells of his weekly trip to his grandmother’s home, where she waits for him on her front porch with a cup of coffee.  They enjoy a simple breakfast, he cuts her grass, and together they bake teacakes for him to eat.  The rituals of time spent together, chores performed lovingly, and shared food sustain their relationship in a sweet and beautiful way.

The story is rich in tactile sensations and concrete details, grounding the narrator in his world through physical experience: the bump of his bicycle tire over the hose at the Phillips 66 crossing reminds him to look both ways lest someone tell his mother.  The sight of flour and sugar sifting through Mammaw’s fingers and the smell of teacakes on the hot cookie sheet are almost tangible to the reader.  Combine the excellent writing with Soentpiet’s splendid watercolors depicting an impeccable 1950′s home, and you have a visual and verbal feast.

The book ends with a personal tribute from the author, letting us know the story is autobiographical.  Included in the back cover is a web link to a recipe for the teacakes.  While the mood is somewhat idyllic, the story portrays a timeless relational scene where two family members care for one another in a stable, loving relationship.  I especially appreciate the way the boy models cheerful manual work in service of someone else.  A wonderful read.

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Publication Information: Laminack, Lester. Saturdays and Teacakes. Soentpiet, Chris (Illustrator). Peachtree. . ISBN: 156145303X.
Categories: 5 Stars, Age 04-08
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Posted on June 25, 2010

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