Florence and Frazier are back (Tyler Makes Pancakes!, 2012), this time with dinner as young Tyler learns about spaghetti—how to cook it and where its ingredients come from—in this masterfully illustrated story.
When Chef Lorenzo asks Tyler for help making spaghetti and meatballs, the burgeoning cook can’t wait to begin. Together they take an imaginary adventure to pick tomatoes from the vine, unearth onions, visit olive groves and witness the pressing process. Even cheese-making, from cow to curds and curing, is seen. But the author conveniently evades any explanation of the origin of the meatballs, which are presented pre-made. Ingredients assembled, the industrious Tyler creates a delicious dinner for his family, with each step of the cooking process described. Sadly, the text is labored, despite the author’s best intentions of connecting readers to food, land, and the people that create and care for both. However, Frazier’s strong pictorial narrative carries the day. As always, he exhibits exemplary skill at creating deceivingly simple illustrations with his exceptional ability to edit. The characters, often appearing as stick figures, are incredibly expressive, and the silhouettes offer both depth and insights into the text.
Florence’s purpose is clear: “Good food can save the day!” A worthy message, drawn perfectly by Frazier, whose illustrations could work without the words. (recipe, additional information) (Picture book. 4-8)