Cover Image: Thomas the Baker & the Fire of London

Thomas the Baker & the Fire of London

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Member Reviews

The story of Thomas the baker a lovely primer for young children on this story from London's history. The action gets going very quickly and its full of things kids  love - the fire obviously, but also firemen, halberds and gunpowder, which makes a nice change from all the animals! Thomas inadvertently started the fire as we all know, but I did not know he worked for the King, but I Googled it and apparently its true, he had royal contract for the Navy! There are some nice touches on re-reading, like his bakery and Old Great St Pauls being built of wood on the first spread and rebuilt in stone on the last. My children also enjoyed finding the cat on the early spreads. The rhymes are pretty decent and the text short; all important at bedtime! Thanks to Netgalley.
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If the typesetting errors I saw in this digitally can be removed this would certainly serve as a potted history of the Great Fire of London.  It's energetic in the telling, being built from rhyming couplets, and the meter and rhyme are met much more successfully than some examples of narrative verse I get to see, that's for sure.  Visually we're talking full-sized spreads at each and every turn, with just two or three couplets per spread for the text, and while the characters are Tintinesque with the cartoonishness turned to eleven, and a lot of the design clearly done on a tablet or PC, there is certainly some effectiveness to be had when mood and drama are called for.  I didn't know the details of the baker's clientele this story opens and closes with, so if I learnt something this is a veritable success.  So find the space bar thief and stop the words running into each other, and you do have a good four stars on your hands.
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A nice book presenting the true story of the Great Fire of London in 1666. Starting from the personal perspective of Thomas the baker, in whose bakery the fire began, the rhyming couplets take the reader through how the fire spread, initially failed to be put out, and was finally put out using firebreaks. The illustrations are very cartoon-ish but still enjoyable.

The main negative point of this book is the lack of major details to give a sense for the enormous scope of the fire, such as the fact that the fire burnt through London for FIVE days! This book gives the misleading impression that the blaze was stopped within a day. Also, the ending mentions that Christopher Wren was commissioned to re-design London, but there is no mention or picture of the new buildings that arose from the ruins of the fire. It would have been helpful to include a picture of the magnificent new St Paul's cathedral, to show optimism and strength and rebirth after the fire. Also including rough maps (with major landmarks labelled) to show the spread of the fire through London would have been very helpful. 

I strongly urge the publisher and author to include one or two pages of background information at the back of the book, giving more factual details, a timeline, references for further reading, etc. That would be immensely helpful for readers who want more historical context, as well as for parents and teachers sharing this book with children. Without that supplementary information (it is a very common feature of children's books of this sort), this book feels very bare and malnourished. Providing more accurate and complete historical information (both in the main story as well as a supplementary page or two at the end with dense but concise text) will make this book much more satisfying and well-rounded.
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A great story for boys (mine anyway). They found the fire captivating and loved the soldiers and gunpowder. My youngest knew the rhyme Londons Burning and the oldest knew the story from school but both seemed delighted to have it retold with pictures. I am a Teaching Assistant and would definitely recommend to parents who want to encourage reading and school libraries to support topic in the school curriculum.
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This is a beautifully illustrated children's story about the Great Fire of London. The rhymes were funny and engaging and easy to read, the illustrations vibrant and so well drawn. I thought the atmospheric backgrounds really added to the drama of the tale. There are some stunning double page spreads of the fire consuming London. As with all good children's books it has a clear baddie in the capitalist mayor who is more concerned with money than saving the city. A brilliant read for children from the ages of 4 to 8.
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This children's book is a dramatization of the Great Fire of London in 1666. I actually had no idea that the fire started in a bakery! I thought it might be fictionalized, but went to read about the actual fire after and saw that it really did start in a bakery (so I learned something new!) I liked the stylized illustrations as well.

Thank you to netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
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This rhyming picture book tells the story of the great fire of London in 1666 that started with a baker's fire accidentally sparked flames while he slept. The mayor of London did not want too much to be done and let the city burn, until the King ordered the fire to be put out and new stone buildings to be built to replace what had burned. It is an interesting story that I was unaware of previously and I think it was told in a way that is very easy for readers to understand. I would imagine that this book would be very helpful for elementary teachers in the UK who need to teach the history of London, but I think that it would be a good book for any young reader to learn about how quickly fires can spread and also how fires were fought long before we had big fire engines and fire hydrants on every street! I would recommend this book to parents and teachers of children in the age 4-9 range. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!
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This is a delightful retelling of the Great Fire of London from the perspective of Thomas the Baker from whose bakery the fire started. The events are told in rhyming lines with language that is imaginative and our perfect for younger readers and listeners. The illustrations add to the telling of the tale. This is a good read for a one to one or with a class…I already envisage this will be a success with key stage 1 teachers as they love new books from familiar themes and with the addition of the rhyming vocabulary then this will be a winner
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As far as children’s books go, I felt this one was lacking in character. The artwork was very simplistic as was the story.
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Thomas the Baker and the Fire of London is a really well done, simplified version of the great fire in London in the 1600s. I liked all the different characters, and the text was easy to read. The illustrations were bright too!
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