The Biscuit Maker
Walker Books, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99
Every morning Benedict Stanley and his cat Audrey Mae stand at their gate and greet their neighbours as they scurry off ready to start their day. But sadly, the neighbours are too busy to reply – ears are full and mouths are closed. And even though Benedict and Audrey Mae spend hours creating a beautiful garden to give those neighbours something beautiful to look at, still the neighbours just rush on by.
Then one day Rory stops to admire Audrey Mae and with a gappy smile, tells Benedict that the Tooth Fairy will be visiting him tonight. That give Benedict an idea and so he goes to the kitchen, reaches for his wife’s recipe book and begins to bake…
Soon, nearly every event that happens in Mavin Road is celebrated with a batch of special biscuits, made and delivered secretly by Benedict and Audrey Mae. what a difference it makes until one day Benedict gets so ill he cannot bake. Will the neighbours notice? Will they discover who their benefactor is?
This is a heart-warming story that demonstrates the human need for connection to others yet even on a busy street like Mavin Road, loneliness can be deep, especially for those who are older, retired, widowed or otherwise living alone. Rory’s connection to the cat changes more lives that can be imagined by one conversation and that special bond that little ones often have with the generation beyond their parents is celebrated. It also shows how sharing food is a universal way of bringing people together, opening the door for readers to share and cook their own special biscuit recipes for the class.
One of those “old-fashioned” stories that wraps its arms around you like a hug, it is a worthy CBCA Picture Book of the Year Notable for 2021.