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CUPCAKE by Charise Mericle Harper


by Charise Mericle Harper & illustrated by Charise Mericle Harper

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4231-1897-8
Publisher: Hyperion

Plain Vanilla Cupcake is proud as can be as he sits on a tray with several beautifully decorated cupcakes. But, sadly, he is the only one remaining at the end of the day. He meets a candle who is also ordinary among lots of fancy candles and who suggests some rather unusual toppings that would make Vanilla Cupcake less plain. How about spaghetti or pickles? In the end, neither of them recognizes the perfect solution. Harper’s wisp of a tale tries too hard to be whimsical and cute, and the personification of these objects doesn’t succeed. The black-line illustrations, enhanced by Photoshop with bright, clear colors, are simple and appropriately childlike. But the author doesn’t seem to trust that the very young readers who are the intended audience will understand the action. Some of the illustrations are needlessly labeled, and there are asides that either state the obvious or distract from the text. Laurie Keller’s wonderfully loony Arnie the Doughnut (2003) covers much the same territory while addressing the existential irony inherent in a story about a foodstuff, something this bland book does not. (Picture book. 2-5)