Beagles and Books is excited to share a new holiday picture book, Tough Cookie written and illustrated by Edward Hemingway! Special thanks to Henry Holt Books for Young Readers and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Fans of The Gingerbread Man will adore this holiday retelling with a sweet message. When Sugar Cookie Man is too slow to outrun Fox, readers think Cookie is a goner. Unlike the original Gingerbread Man, Cookie is miraculously saved from being devoured. Much to Cookie’s chagrin, instead of tasting sweet and delicious, Cookie learns from Fox that he tastes terrible and tough. Feeling sad and without purpose, Fox attempts to help Cookie sweeten up. But no amount of eggnog, powdered sugar, and Christmas carols can get the job done. Plan B is Cookie should improve his speed rather than his sweetness so Fox enters him in the Sweet Treat Christmas Race. Cookie experiences yet another setback, for he crosses the finish line last. Cookie doesn’t feel sweet or tough now. Will he ever find his true calling?
Tough Cookie is a heartwarming story about self-acceptance. Cookie assumed he was sweet and speedy and when he realizes the truth, he is heartbroken. Hemingway adorably conveys Cookie’s emotions and feelings through the illustrations as well as the text with phrases such as “And that’s when Cookie crumbled” and “Everything I do is half-baked.” While at first his adversary, Fox becomes a good friend to Cookie in his efforts to help him solve his dilemma reminding him to “hang in there.” Much to Cookie’s surprise, he realizes he is not to be eaten but rather to adorn the town’s Christmas tree as a decoration. So that’s why he has a hole in his head! With this discovery, Cookie’s confidence returns, for he finally accepts himself for who he is.
With its powerful message, charming illustrations, and a fast paced engaging plot, I highly recommend teachers and parents to add Tough Cookie as a Christmas read aloud. I look forward to reading with my students within the next two weeks before winter break. At the end of the book, an added bonus is Tough Cookie recipes-one for sugar cookies and one for ornaments.
About the Author/Illustrator:
Edward Hemingway is the creator of Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus, Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship, and Bad Apple’s Perfect Day, as well as the illustrator of My Miserable Life by F.L. Block. He has written features in GQ magazine and comics for Nickelodeon, and his artwork has been published in The New York Times and Nickelodeon Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
One lucky winner will receive a copy of TOUGH COOKIE with a special cookie cutter and recipe card! (U.S. addresses). Click on link below.