Friday, June 3, 2016

The Hole Story of the Doughnut

The Hole Story of the Doughnut
by Pat Miller; illus. by Vincent X. Kirsch
40 pages; ages 6-9
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

theme: invention, biography

"Few remember the master mariner Hanson Crockett Gregory, though he was bold and brave and bright. But the pastry he invented more than 166 years ago is eaten daily by doughnut lovers everywhere."

Hanson Gregory was just 13 when he went to sea. He wanted to learn as much as possible, and he eventually became a captain of a clipper, shipping foods from Maine to California. He even got a medal for heroism from the Queen of Spain.

But what people remember him for: inventing the doughnut.

What I like about this book: It's a true story that reads like a tall tale. Kitchen boy goofs up making buns; comes up with way to ensure there are no raw, doughy centers by cutting them out. Sailors loved them and the rest is history. It's fun to read and the illustrations are clever, but make sure you've got a plate of doughnuts because everyone will want one when you turn the last page.

I like that there's back matter: author's note, a timeline, a bibliography of resources. I also like that author Pat Miller was inspired to write this book by a snippet of conversation she overheard. On a tour of Boston Harbor the guide offhandedly commented, "The guy who invented the hole in the doughnut is buried over there." That, and Miller's curiosity, led her to discover a delicious story.

Beyond the book

Celebrate National Donut Day. The first Friday of June (that's today) is National Donut Day, so find a place that serves doughnuts and celebrate. Check out this video about how doughnuts are made.

Make a cardboard Doughnut Ring Toss game. All you need is cardboard, scissors, paint and paper and glue and your imagination - and a dowel to pound into the ground for the target peg. Get some ideas here.

Make donuts out of old socks. You can toss them into a basket, play catch, juggle, or create a bakery. Directions here.

Today we're joining PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. On Monday  we're joining the roundup over at the Nonfiction Monday blog where you'll find even more book reviews Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I love "delicious" true stories that inspire children. Especially a story about a mariner who invented the doughnuts.

  2. It's so great when a true story has so much zing. Wonderful choice!

  3. I loved the tall tale aspect of this one too, Sue! I also loved the recurring donut motif in the design and it was such a great match between the fun text and whimsical art!

  4. Anything with the word donut and I'm all in! I love true stories!

  5. I love non-fiction stories like this one! Thanks for sharing it. I am excited my library has it on order. Perfect selection for today.

  6. Holy canoli, this is a great idea for a biography!

  7. I absolutely love this book. I just checked it out a couple weeks ago. The story is incredible. Who would have guessed the story behind the amazing, delicious, tasty doughnut?

  8. I love donuts and I love books... The other day my 5 year-old asked for 'Arnie the Donut' from the box of assorted dozen. Of course, I gave him the chocolate one with sprinkles. Can't wait to read this book about donuts!