It’s hard to tell which came first, the story or the cupcake, but either way, this picture book is a treat.
Starting with the title pages, the atmospheric mood is set with a murky purple landscape. A sign that reads “kitchen” points readers down a ladder into a hole, where four monster chefs try to appease their king’s appetite. The “horribly horrible” king has always eaten eyeballs and ketchup (youngsters will surely squirm and scream at this), and the simple text gets right to the point: The king wants something new to eat. He sends each chef in a different direction, threatening to eat them if they fail to find something to tantalize. The white background makes it easy to focus on the cartoonish monsters and their expressions. Despite tentacles, claws, bat wings, and in one case, lots of eyes, the chefs look rather dear. Children will empathize with them, especially after three are duped by would-be dinners. A rabbit threatens: “If you eat a rabbit, you turn into a rabbit. That is why there are so many of us.” The fourth chef comes up with an ingenious solution—he brings back a…chef…who makes…cupcakes.
Delicious! Especially when decorated with eyeballs. (recipe) (Picture book. 4-8)