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EVERY CAKE HAS A STORY by Christina Tosi


by Christina Tosi ; illustrated by Emily Balsley

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-11068-3
Publisher: Dial Books

A dream of pastries transforms a town.

In the monochromatic town of Samesville, everything is the same: “black and white and gray.” The only cake on offer is vanilla with chocolate frosting. Sammi, the White protagonist, puts her recipe card under her pillow, makes a wish that “things were NOT the same,” and has a dream filled with riotous color and magical confections—and just like that, the town is awash with bright hues and everyone has the ability to create thrilling baked goods. The title page helpfully adds that the author is “of Milk Bar” (but not so helpfully fails to explain that this is a restaurant chain offering inventive desserts). This perhaps explains why this story feels uncomfortably narrowed in on baked goods—not quite like an advertisement but also not quite a story. There are tremendous leaps of faith required: that a wholly undeveloped character would spontaneously break out of all-encompassing conformity and that putting a recipe card under a pillow could have such transformative effects. To be effective, this setting (reminiscent of the film Pleasantville) requires far more worldbuilding than it’s given, meaning that the emotional tenor is similarly muted. The Wizard of Oz–like transition from black-and-white to rainbow is visually striking but can’t make up for the lackluster storytelling. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Whets the appetite for cake rather than reading.

(recipe) (Picture book. 4-7)