2018 Notable Social Studies Trade Books

Both Soldier Song and How The Cookie Crumbled are on the Children’s Book Council’s 2018 Notable Social Studies Trade Books list. Check out the list to find many other great books here.


I will be reading and signing HOW THE COOKIE CRUMBLED at Greenlight Bookstores on Saturday, March 31st. Drop by for a story and a chocolate chip cookie!

I will begin in Fort Greene at 11:30 AM
Greenlight Books
686 Fulton Street

Then I will be at the Lefferts Gardens store at 1:30 PM
Greenlight Books
632 Flatbush Ave

How The cookie Crumbled Art

Here is some artwork for How The Cookie Crumbled. It is about the true and not so true stories of how Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie. Whether you are an inventor, or political (fake news), a history buff, or just love a good chocolate chip cookie, there is something for everyone in this story.

Publishers Weekly Review

How The Cookie Crumbled was reviewed for Publishers Weekly. Here is the review below:

By Gilbert Ford
(Atheneum, ISBN 978-1-4814-5067-6, 10/24/17, Fall 2017 catalog)

Ford moves from the history of the Slinky (in The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring) to that of another American classic: the chocolate chip cookie, invented by restaurateur Ruth Wakefield. With her Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie a hit, Wakefield sold the recipe to Nestlé, and it remains on chocolate chip bags to this day. Using traditional and digital media, Ford paints a cheery vision of Depression-era America, highlighting Wakefield’s persistence and exacting nature (“Ruth’s staff said she was one tough cookie to work for”). He also taps into the visual language of vintage comics to present three ways Wakefield’s discovery might have come about: as an accident, substitution, or moment of inspiration. Ford casts his vote for the third option; readers will cast theirs for baking cookies from the recipe that’s included.

Booklist review of HOW THE COOKIE CRUMBLED

Here is a positive review of How The Cookie Crumbled from Booklist.

How the Cookie Crumbled: The True (and Not-So-True) Stories of the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Ford, Gilbert (Author) , Ford, Gilbert (Illustrator)
Oct 2017. 40 p. Atheneum, hardcover, $17.99. (9781481450683). 641.5092.
It’s hard to imagine life without chocolate chip cookies, but they did need to be invented, and were: by Ruth Wakefield, at her Toll House Inn, during the 1930s. No one disputes these facts, but there are some questions regarding how. Readers are presented with three possible ways the cookies might have come into existence, and encouraged to figure out which version makes the most sense. To help, this picture-book biography documents Wakefield’s evolution, from child chef, to college nutrition major, to teacher, restaurant owner, master baker, and generous entrepreneur happy to share her discovery. As word spread, the Nestlé Corporation was delighted with the sudden increased demand for their chocolate and started producing easy-to-use chips, delivered in the iconic bag with the recipe on the back. The mixed-media illustrations align perfectly with the breezy, pun-filled text, aptly integrating period details, expressive facial expressions, and lots of happy crunching. This will be an enjoyable choice for one-on-one or group storytimes—just be sure to have some chocolate chip cookies handy!
— Kathleen McBroom

School Library Journal Review

Here is a nice review from School Library Journal on How The Cookie Crumbled, coming out in late October of this year.

FORD, Gilbert. How the Cookie Crumbled: The True (and Not-So-True) Stories of the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie. illus. by Gilbert Ford. 40p. bibliog. S. & S./Atheneum. Oct. 2017.

Gr 2-4–Everyone is familiar with the deliciousness of chocolate chip cookies, but did you know some people say they were invented by accident? Ruth Wakefield’s lifelong passion for cooking and baking would eventually lead her to create the beloved chocolate chip cookie recipe. While some parts of her life story are straightforward, the actual invention of the tasty treat is surrounded by lore and legend. Readers will learn all three purported origin accounts, along with a little biography of the inventor herself. Laden with food and cooking puns, the vocabulary might go over the heads of younger readers and make it somewhat difficult for newly independent ones, too. However, the cartoonish flair of the rich and expressive illustrations, in combination with the subject matter, will widen the appeal to younger audiences. The lively, conversational writing style makes the book feel more like a whispered secret being passed down than a standard work of nonfiction. VERDICT Great for more advanced elementary school readers who are ready to appreciate a few tasteful puns. Otherwise, a fine addition to biography collections.–Emily Beasley, Omaha Public Schools

Kirkus Review for Cookie

Below is the first mostly good review for How The Cookie Crumbled, out in October.

The True (and Not-So-True) Stories of the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie
Author: Gilbert Ford
Illustrator: Gilbert Ford

A chocolate candy bar cannonballing into a possessed mixer. Baking chocolate suddenly going AWOL. These are just a couple of the persistent myths orbiting the origins of America’s quintessential dessert: the chocolate chip cookie. Thanks to Ford’s kid-friendly exposé, Ruth Wakefield’s smarts and business savvy are revealed to be the true sources of the cookie’s invention. Not only was Wakefield the chef for the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts, she also managed the restaurant. Daring to start a business with her husband just as the Great Depression hit, Wakefield’s dedication to quality paid off. In 1938, wanting to change up her popular butterscotch cookie, Wakefield added bits of a Nestle’s chocolate bar to the dough and—voilà! From kitchens across the country to the care packages sent to homesick World War II soldiers, the chocolate chip cookie was soon everywhere. In fact, Nestle created the chocolate chip specifically for Wakefield’s recipe. Ford’s illustrations successfully evoke the 1930s and ’40s, down to the comic-strip half-tone dot effect of the different cookie-genesis scenarios. However, Ford misses the opportunity to depict among the diners the famous personages mentioned in his author’s note, and his pictorial rendition of the cookie queen is strangely unsympathetic—staff grimace behind her back as she critically frowns at their work. Quibbles aside, pastry chefs in the making will be fascinated by this accessible tribute to a true American icon and will be tempted to try the appended cookie recipe. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

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