Ginger Pye: a read-aloud and a recipe

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Ginger Pye, yellow puppy in grass

I can’t tell you how many times I have read Eleanor Estes’s Ginger Pye. You may know Ms. Estes as the author of The Moffats series and about a dozen other children’s books, but Ginger Pye is the best by far, in my humble opinion.

It makes a wonderful read-aloud for children of all ages. I have read this book with my own children and with classes I have taught from second through eighth grades, and all of them enjoyed it. Many of my students then borrowed the book to read again on their own. Not only are the characters delightful, but the story is simple and charming, and the vocabulary does not insult the intelligence of the listeners or the reader. My kids still use words like unsavory and perpendicular, which they learned from Ginger Pye.

A Thanksgiving mystery

The story concerns siblings Rachel and Jerry Pye, precocious and intelligent children of an ornithologist father and a much younger mother, who are very much in love. The children desperately want one of the puppies recently born in the neighborhood, and they work hard dusting the pews at church to earn one dollar to make the purchase.

They name their dog Ginger. Jerry and Rachel believe he is the smartest dog ever, and they are shocked when, on Thanksgiving Day, Ginger disappears from the back yard. Rachel and Jerry begin the sad and anxious search for their beloved pet and for the unsavory character in the mustard hat who was lurking around the yard that day.

Recipe for Creamy Ginger Pie

My personal love for this story and its time setting of Thanksgiving Day sent me on a quest for a rich and creamy Ginger Pie recipe, which I found on McCormick’s website. Alongside your pumpkin and apple pies this Thanksgiving, you may want to include this easy, no-bake dessert as a salute to a sweet story of a loving family in innocent times.


¼ cup caramel dessert topping (be generous!)

1 prepared (6-ounce) cookie crust, chocolate or vanilla

2 cups half-and-half

2 packages (3.4 ounce) vanilla instant pudding mix

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 8-ounce tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

¼ cup sliced, toasted almonds (Or toast your own by tossing them in a skillet with some butter or oil for about 5 minutes until they turn golden brown.)


  1. Spread caramel dessert topping in a thick, even layer on the prepared crust.
  2. Into a large bowl, combine half-and-half, pudding mixes, ginger and cinnamon. Beat with a wire whisk for 2 minutes until thick and well blended.
  3. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, then gently stir in 1½ cups of the whipped topping.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto the caramel coated crust and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. Just before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping over filling and sprinkle toasted almond slices across the top of the pie.

If you have any leftovers, you should refrigerate them, but like the story of Ginger Pye, I believe your family will gobble this up!

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