The Hole Story of the Doughnut

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In our home, a great amount of fiction is read and enjoyed. That doesn’t mean that we lack appreciation for a good non-fiction read now and then. About once a month or so, I go to my library’s online catalog and take a peek to see what new non-fiction picture books are heading our way.

Every once in a while I stumbled across a book like Earmuffs for Everyone!: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs that not only share a bit of history and a biography but are super fun to read as well. A couple of weeks ago, I made another such discovery that spoke to my family in a sweet way.

The Hole Story of the Doughnut (Pat Miller). Yes! A book about the inventor of the doughnut! We seriously love doughnuts in our home so everyone loved this read.

Hanson Crockett Gregory, in 1844, went to sea at the age of thirteen. His life at sea began as a cabin boy but he quickly worked his way to cook’s assistant. Gregory continued to work hard and became captain of a clipper (the fastest ship on the ocean at that time).  After rescuing Spanish sailors from the sea, Gregory was awarded a medal of honor from Queen Isabella II.  Clearly Hanson Crockett Gregory was a man of diligence and worthy character.

But, um, can we talk about the doughnuts? This is exactly how The Hole Story of the Doughnut begins; by telling us a bit about the man that Gregory was. Then finally we travel a bit back in time to June 22, 1847 when Hanson Gregory was sixteen.

Breakfast on board the ship was the usual fare of coffee and fried cakes. Balls of sweetened dough were dropped into a pot of hot lard. The smell was delicious. Perfection..until you hit the middle of the fried cake. The middle was left raw and greasy. This earned these fried cakes the name of “Sinkers”.  Yum?

Ah, but Hanson used a bit of creative thinking and solved the problem. A lid from a pepper can cut perfect holes in the middle of these fried cakes. And Sinkers were a thing of the past. Doughnuts were born!

What does young Hansen then do? Tells his mom all about his fried cake perfection and she sets up market in a friend’s store. So let’s all give a big Thank You!! to Hansen Crockett Gregory and his mom.

Is This Really True?

Here is another aspect that we enjoyed about The Hole Story of the Doughnut. Not only did author Pat Miller give us the story of the doughnut but went a little further. You know how sailors’ stories go, right? The fish is always bigger, you know. So a couple of tales were shared about how doughnuts were “really” created.

The story of the creation of the doughnut has been confirmed! In 1941 a man named Henry Ellis challenged the claim Gregory had on the doughnut. But a panel of people came together and agreed that Gregory had the right and proper claim to the doughnut. Ellis later admitted that it was a publicity stunt. Tsk, tsk, Mr. Ellis.

At the age of eighty-nine, Gregory passed away at a sailor’s home in Massachusetts (which I found that tidbit fascinating) and was buried near the sea.  In the 1950’s his headstone disappeared. However, in 1982 Dunkin’ Donuts president, Richard Hart, had a new headstone placed at Gregory’s grave.  If you live nearby in Massachusetts, grab a dozen doughnuts, head to Gregory’s graveside, and share our appreciation for his creativity in the sea-tossed kitchen.

We enjoyed this quick read on the doughnut. The author’s note contains the information about the publicity stunt and the headstone. So my younger ones enjoyed the story of the creation of the doughnut and the older ones and I got a bit of extra info which is always nice. Even the two year old likes this book. Ok, the page with the doughnut with sprinkles is his favorite, but can you blame him? Now it’s time to make the doughnuts.

The Glass Castle – A Book Review

We are a family that enjoys a wide range of literature. Whether it is a picture book or a classic novel, we have stacks, shelves, and bags of books in just about every room. When Shiloh Run Press gave us the opportunity to read and review The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins, we were happy to add it to our list of current reads.

The Glass Castle is recommended for ages 10-14 and is classified under “action and adventure”. I had initially thought that I would have my 10 year old and 12 year old daughters read this independently. But who doesn’t enjoy a bit of adventure around the lunch table, right? So I chose to read this aloud during our lunches each day with it serving as my “younger people” read aloud. This meant that my main listeners were 12 and under. Just by nature of our home, the teens were often listening in as they joined us during lunch.

You can go to The Glass Castle website  to read the official book synopsis and even read Chapter 1 to get a feel for the story. However, for a more personal approach, I asked a few of my children to write their own version of a book synopsis. Here are a few book teasers for you:

“Avery, a girl who just turned thirteen, is kidnapped and taken to a castle. A castle that her dead mother told her stories about. Avery has lots of questions that she will uncover with or without anybody’s help. Avery figures out the king knows nothing about the kids who are running HIS castle.” Hannah – 10

“Thirteen year old Avery gets kidnapped along with her younger brother, Henry. She finds herself with a bunch of other thirteen year olds. All of them have to work as servants for the queen, trying to please her every wish. Avery’s only concern is her brother, Henry, who she has not seen or heard of since she got taken to the castle.”

Lydia – 12

“Avery was told tales of the Glass Castle by her mother when she was younger. She never thought she’d actually see it or enter it. When Avery and her young brother, Henry, are kidnapped, the Glass Castle is where Avery finds herself. Henry is missing and nobody will let Avery leave to find him. She is kept in the castle to work just like all the thirteen year olds. Avery is thrust into mystery trying to discover why she is there, where the king’s heir is, what the future queen is trying to do, where her brother is, and why is her missing mother somehow a part of the castle’s secrets?” Rebekah – 17

Our Thoughts on The Glass Castle

After reading the book synopsis, we were all ready for an exciting adventure as Avery and her friends discovered the secrets of the castle and fought for their freedom. Unfortunately, just a few chapters in, I realized that the pace of the book was moving a bit slowly. For us there wasn’t much action and adventure. The majority of the book is Avery making it clear that she wants out of the castle, making decisions with disregard for the effect they will have on the other children, and her growing feelings for a boy, Tuck.

“It was slowish and they were too young for romance. The only reason for me to finish reading it is because I started it. I like to know what happened.” Hannah – 10

We were a bit thrown off by the emphasis of romance in this book. Not only is there feelings between Avery and Tuck but another young man, Edward, makes it clear to Avery that half of the thirteen year old boys would love to be with Avery. Is any of the content inappropriate? No. But is it necessary? I think it actually pulled away from the potential to focus more on the “action and adventure” and would have been more suited to the targeted age range.

“I thought it was going too slow for me. The romance didn’t need to be there. All the kids were scared or happy to be at the castle. None tried to escape or fight back. They all accepted the fact they were prisoners. I did like the plot idea: kids kidnapped by an evil queen trying to get power.” Lydia – 12

The Glass Castle is the first of a series about Avery. Even with a series, you expect to end each book with a sense of completion and a hint of expectation. We finished The Glass Castle and felt dissatisfied with the ending. Other than Avery deciding to stay in the castle, there was no sense of completion to the story.

I do agree with my daughter, Lydia, that the plot idea was excellent. I think the story needed to focus more on the children actually attempting to change their fate instead of being so passive. More depth to the characters, not just Avery, would have helped to build some connections in the story as well.

Who Would Enjoy The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle is written in a manner that makes it appealing to children who perhaps are not strong readers or are not fond of reading. The chapters are short so it can be read in manageable chunks. For a child on the upper end of the targeted age range (14), the romantic aspect might be engaging. If you are compiling a list of easy, light reads for the summer, this could be a good addition to that list.

For parents who prefer to steer away from books containing magic, fantasy, violence, etc,  The Glass Castle is a “safe” read for them. About half way through the book, Avery begins to attend chapel (led by a fellow thirteen year old) and there are some references to God and scripture is quoted.

Other Crew Members also read and reviewed The Glass Castle. Take a moment to read a few reviews and see what other are saying about Avery and her time in the glass castle. Don’t forget you can read Chapter 1 online!

The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Ashtown Burials – N. D. Wilson

Up until the summer of 2015, my children and I were living under a rock and oblivious to the author, N. D. Wilson. The rock was rolled aside when I brought home Boys of Blur and read it aloud. We all enjoyed it and “Read a book, yo!” is still a favorite family slogan.

It has been a year since we spent time with Charlie and Cotton. We jumped right into The 100 Cupboards series and had quite the adventure with Henry York. It is continually brought home from the library to be enjoyed again and again. A little Crazy Berry Juice was called for after a reading of Leepike Ridge. We just recently finished the three books in the Ashtown Burials series.

Cyrus, Antigone, Nolan, Rupert, Niffy…they have become treasured friends. Reading the Ashtown Burials was a time of “read, read, and read because we have to know how this book ends” and “I don’t want this to end!”  While targeted at the 8 to 12 year old readers, this series is perfect for a family read aloud.

Ashtown Burials gives the perfect blend of excitement, adventure, history, family, and friendship. All of this brought together by a wonderful cast of characters that will soon be like old friends. Conversations about the Smiths happens regularly around our table.  There have been discussions on good vs evil,  immortality and death and what living truly means. We have laughed over the antics of Cyrus and love his relationship with Rupert.

Not to ruin this series for those who have not read it, but the ending of Empire of Bones (Book 3) was bittersweet for me. It was what I expected for one character but it still was tough one to take. It led to some of the above mentioned discussions.

Don’t ask my children to choose between Ashtown Burials or The 100 Cupboards. Some will groan in distress and other will refuse to answer such an unfair question. It gets even better if you ask them to choose between characters: Cyrus or Henry? Rupert or Uncle Frank? It is great fun as a parent to have this small moments of torture.

Across the board, Mr. Wilson has become a treasured author in our home. Wilson’s writing “makes you feel like you are right there watching everything happen”.  One of my teens has declared Wilson one of the best authors ever. We might be some of his biggest fans.

If you happen to live under a rock like us and haven’t read the Ashtown Burials, we highly recommend it. Hopefully it won’t be long before Book IV: The Silent Bells will be published.