Bread Garden

A Middle Reader Novel

*This book is currently out-of-print. We are hoping to be able to acquire additional books, but the possibility is uncertain.

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A middle reader novel

by Sally D. Ketchum

illustrated by

Michael C. Harvey


Soft Cover, 152 pages,

5.5" x 8.5", Perfect Bound

Usually shipped within one week

ISBN# 978-0-595-52862-2


This book includes several RECIPES too!


"Bread Garden has it all--environmental concern, children's self-esteem, lessons in thinking skills . . . and an action-packed plot to boot!"  

Kas Winters,

Winmark Communications




Temporarily Out of Stock



Bread Garden

A middle reader novel

by Sally D. Ketchum

Bread Garden has been with me for ten years. After working on it, I always felt that I wanted to do still a little bit more with it and put it down. Every time I worked on it, I added a bit more and changed even more. Times changed, even in a decade. I had to relate to the changes. Then, too, the book led me into new interests, like African cooking (Jessica B. Harris, The Africa Cookbook) helped me. The University of Edinburgh was diligent in researching names and field names in Scottish history. Of, course, as a former teacher, I used Bloom’s taxonomy (higher level thinking skills) and found that children truly soaked it up if taught at the right speed.

So now, writing full time, I returned to Bread Garden and re-wrote it still again.

This time the book is finished, but there is a niggle in my brain that suggests a sequel.

I can feel it developing now. The young protagonists might still be there, but in the background, for I think Mr. Svennson will bake cookies for new youngsters and he might have sold his bus. I have a hunch that now he is into motorcycles—or is it unicycles?

Experts in children’s literature with national reputations love Bread Garden, but are split over the adult characters’ reaction to a bucket of manure tea being emptied on a certain head. But young readers agreed: The bucket gets emptied. I leave it to you. I hope you enjoy the book; I will miss working on it.

Lesson Plans for



English /Humanities





Across the Curriculum



The Bread Garden Activity List



Bread Garden Seeds



We have discontinued shipping outside the US.

About the Author

Sally D. Ketchum

Sally D. Ketchum is an author, journalist, poet and book reviewer. The Michigan native also writes fiction and verse for children. A lover of nature and champion of the environment, Ketchum lives on the shores of Lake Michigan in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Hemingway and Harrison territory). In one way or another, her work is apt to deal with human nature, food, gardening, and animals.

Optimism pervades her work, and food appears in much of it as her subject or as a motif. "In the Kitchen," one of three columns she writes regularly, has run in the Traverse City Record-Eagle for over ten years. Her work is known for intelligence, gentle humor and, at times, light satire.

Ketchum has seven books in various stages, published, finished, and in proposal stages, including short story collections, non-fiction self-help, middle reader fiction, memoir, picture books, and a humorous diet book---with tips and characters.

“Ketchum writes a pun-of-a-kind prose that leaves her writing as entertaining as it is informative."                              --John McGran,  Editor-in-chief, 

To learn more about Ketchum, her projects and her offerings, browse this website or contact her.



Chapters 1-4

The characters are introduced.

Dalgliesh Jones, a Scottish-American black boy calls himself, “Dogleash,” since he cannot pronounce his real name. His father is a prominent, fair-minded judge; his grandmother, “Mam,” is an elegant and proud woman and an adventurous cook.

Dogleash’s friends are precocious Fredericka (who carries a book of big words in her jeans’ pocket) and her tagalong younger brother, Hank.

Mr. Svensson is the worldly and eccentric baker who befriends and mentors the youngsters.

Mrs. Robinson is the single mother of Freddie and Hank; Mrs. Harsnort is a neighbor and a harridan.

The baker introduces themes baking, gardening, identity (self-esteem) and thinking skills. Environmental concerns arise as the children’s garden contrasts Mrs. Harsnort’s cement and chemical garden.

Chapters 5-8

A gang of youngsters, the Lennonheads, steal Dogleash’s bike. Hank volunteers to hunt for it, but is kidnapped by the gang and tormented. Dogleash and Freddie wait in vain for Hank at The Humane Society. Parents and police are called and rescue Hank.

Chapters 9-12

Dogleash reports the details of his misadventure. The baker discusses the significance and ramifications of naming (identity). The children face Mrs. Harsnort’s ugliness and cruelty and also question “bread gardening” as the baker Svensson explains thinking skills (analysis and synthesis) to the skeptical children.

Chapters 13-16

Mrs. Rosen, Freddie’s teacher and Quiz Bowl team coach dies, shocking the children. Mam explains the use of spices in cooking, and Baker Svensson advocates list making. After the teacher’s memorial, the children are still skeptical of bread gardening, but decide to try to use synthesis in making their plans. They piggyback ideas and wonder about the possibility of imagination having a brain.

Chapters 17-20

The children consider hosting a bread garden party, but suddenly both Dogleash and Mrs. Harsnort disappear. Mrs. Harsnort is found alive after an attack, and Freddie and Hank who think Dogleash is dead find him inside the locked Human Society.

Chapters 21—24

All is explained as Judge Jones holds a young drug user accountable. Audrey Stone, female leader of the Lennonheads, interrupts the relief and general happiness. She and Freddie meet in a hair-pulling fight. Though slightly battered, Freddie wins by using words from her big word book that flummox Audrey Stone. There is a romantic dare and Dogleash gets kissed. The possibility of Mr. Svensson getting an old bus arises.

Chapters 25 – 28

Several themes come together as do most of the characters as they attend the bread garden party that the children have prepared. The children try to explain bread gardening (thinking skills, imagination and fancy) to Mrs. Harsnort who declares it to be, “looney.” Just as refreshments are served, the Lennonheads appear and try to crash the party. Freddie pours a bucket of manure tea over the head of her enemy, Audrey Stone, and the responsible adults in attendance look the other way (in an ending that young readers who have read the ms. love best). Dogleash discovers his identity as “Dalgliesh” as Baker Svensson reveals the results of his research in Scottish names and bread gardening triumphs as growth and transformation reign in the children’s kingdom in the small town.

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