By: Dominic Garramone
Illustrated by: Richard Bernal
Publisher: Reedy Press
Publication Date: September 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: April 21, 2011
It’s early morning and Brother Jerome doesn’t want to get out of his warm, comfy bed. He has a special job that requires getting up at the crack of dawn; he is the baker and must get the bread made for everybody at the monastery pronto. Fortunately, the monk has a very special alarm clock – Gus, his guardian angel. With the help of Gus, Brother Jerome finally gets out of bed and heads to the bakery to make some extraordinary bread.
Today is a special day for Brother Jerome. The bakery is being opened to the public to raise money for the monastery. But the monastery is too poor to put up a big, fancy sign outside announcing the bakery and Brother Jerome is worried that people won’t know about his wonderful bread. Will anybody come to buy the various doughy delights?
On that first day, several angels come to the bakery because, as one angel tells Brother Jerome, anywhere there is the scent of fresh made bread is “…the place that smells the most like heaven!” But where are the customers?
Both Abbot Pasqualino and the angels tell Brother Jerome to have faith, customers will come eventually. In the meantime the unsold bread will be put to good use in the monastery. Inspired by the words of encouragement, Brother Jerome enthusiastically sets to work the next morning making a wide variety of delicious breads, pastries and muffins. Just like the first day, the angels flood into the bakery to enjoy the delicious smells of baking bread. But again, where are the customers?
This is a sweet book about a lovable baker who is taught the virtues of patience and faith by a guardian angel and abbot. Brother Jerome was easily frustrated and worried about failure, but those around him, who deeply cared for the monk, encouraged him over and over. And in the end, faith won out, customers arrived, and everybody was happy.
There is a fair amount of text in Brother Jerome and the Angels in the Bakery, which makes it best suited for a slightly older child (second grade reader); younger ones may have trouble sitting through the tale. The illustrations are lovely with subdued, muted tones. That added to the descriptions of the various types of breads, muffins, pastries, etc. wafting up into the rafters of the monastery will make mouths water and children ask to hear the story again.
Quill says: A delightful tale that teaches the importance of patience and faith.