Christopher Ludwick was a German-born American patriot with a big heart and a talent for baking. When cries of “Revolution!” began, Christopher was determined to help General George Washington and his hungry troops. Not with muskets or cannons, but with gingerbread! Cheerfully told by Mara Rockliff and brought to life by Vincent Kirsch’s inventive cut-paper illustrations, Gingerbread for Liberty is the story of an unsung hero of the Revolutionary War who changed the course of history one loaf at a time.
Rockliff (The Grudge Keeper) and Kirsch (Noah Webster and His Words) pay playful tribute to a Revolutionary War hero whose legacy lies in his culinary talent. Just before the outbreak of the war, Christopher Ludwick emigrated from Germany to Philadelphia, where he set up a bakeshop specializing in gingerbread ("the best in all the thirteen colonies") and let no one go hungry: "No empty bellies here!" he booms. "Not in my America!" Ludwick shrewdly uses his baking skills after enrolling in Washington's army to feed both colonial troops and British-hired German soldiers, in an effort to persuade them to defect to the patriots' side. Working in watercolor, Kirsch takes a cue from Ludwick's baking to create characters that resemble gingerbread cookies with white icinglike details; speech-balloon comments add another layer of humor to the story. Rockliff's story celebrates an unheralded historical figure, reinforces the value of creatively employing one's skills, and reminds readers that heroes can be found in surprising places. A gingerbread cookie recipe appears on the endpapers. Ages 6 9. Author's agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis.