Forest friends need an egg to bake a cake, and while their animal neighbors cannot offer all the other necessary ingredients, they do join the confectionary quest.
Mouse needs the egg for an omelet, but Blackbird has only flour, with which they can make cake. They find Dormouse, who has butter and who suggests everybody approach Mole, who has sugar—but still no egg. The roving (and ever growing) band of merry would-be bakers will bring smiles to small readers, who will rejoice in reciting the growing list of creatures and chiming in with their choral salutations of each new animal: “Good morning, neighbor.” This endearing story’s accumulation of animals, donations, and repetitive phrasing cleverly underscores (and embodies) the abundant, collaborative love of a tightknit community. Dek’s watercolor illustrations evoke folk-art charm with their straightforward brush strokes, chunky caricatures, absence of perspective, and inherent warmth expressed through lovely details. Hedgehog sits idly in a bentwood rocker; a window box of plants hangs outside Blackbird’s hollow-tree entry; strings of lights drape tree branches; a roped boardwalk spirals up a trunk to Owl’s nest; a painted checkerboard motif distinguishes Mouse’s doorway. When it’s finally time to cut the cake, readers might feel eager to initiate their own cooking project or perhaps simply to run across the way to find a friend.
Teamwork, sharing, and neighborly friendship emerge as integral ingredients in this sweet, satisfying book for young readers. (Picture book. 2-6)