Future chefs may enjoy flicking the moving parts back and forth, but only grown-ups who know their ways around a cookbook...

LET'S BAKE A CAKE!

Sturdy sliders invite budding bakers to measure out flour and sugar, mix ingredients, and decorate a four-egg “let’s pretend cake!”

A “pretend cake” is the only sort that will come out of this recipe. In the cartoon illustrations, cute mice in toques pose next to the required bowls, kitchen implements, and ingredients. With sliding tabs, a stream of sugar pours into a bowl as readings on a scale change, a mixer and a spoon can be moved back and forth, and temperature and time set on an oven. Baumann only suggests adult help for this last step—leaving everything else, including taking out the hot pan and flipping it over, to the child. Though it is a common practice in international recipes (this is a French import), real beginners may be confused to see the flour and sugar quantified in “cups” in English measure but “grams” in the metric equivalents. Prospective bakers are also instructed during the preparation to separate egg whites and yolks without being shown how. Moreover, the direction to put the cake pan in the oven is mistakenly repeated on a later page. Worst, when it comes time to pour on the raspberry sauce at the end, a second, smaller cake suddenly appears atop the first—since layers were previously unmentioned, readers will be hard-pressed to know which layer they have measurements for and which they don’t.

Future chefs may enjoy flicking the moving parts back and forth, but only grown-ups who know their ways around a cookbook are going to get a passable sponge cake from this. (carrying handle) (Novelty. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 979-1-0276-0140-0

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Out of all the titles in the series, Goldilocks’ adventures are the most cogent and age-appropriate.

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

From the Les Petit Fairytales series

The flaxen-haired tyke makes her infamous visit to the bears’ house in this simplified adaptation.

The classic story is told with minimal text, one or two words per double-page spread. Goldilocks uses speech bubbles to describe the porridge, chairs and beds (“Too hot. / Too cold. / Just right”). The bears look bemused when they find the girl snoozing in Baby Bear’s bed, and they offer an amicable and winsome goodbye when she dashes off. The richly colored cartoons, likely created with the aid of a computer, present friendly-looking characters with oversize heads. The companion release is a stripped-down version of “Little Red Riding Hood” following the same format and style, right down to the sparkly heroine’s outfit and glittery letters employed on the cover. Youngsters unfamiliar with the story may need adult help to understand that the friendly, cross-dressing wolf has actually swallowed Grandma, since all the readers see is a “Woodsman” examining the wolf’s teeth and then sending the predator away in shame.

Out of all the titles in the series, Goldilocks’ adventures are the most cogent and age-appropriate. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9912-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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