Although their names suggest that they’re an obvious pair, Mac and Cheese are an odd couple through and through.
Anthropomorphic Cheese is an artistic fellow who thinks outside of the box, while Mac (a similarly anthropomorphic piece of macaroni) is something of an intellectual. Their differences cause them to have some misunderstandings in the three short stories (“Breakfast,” “Lunch,” and “Dinner,” natch) that make up this book, but unlike Oil and Water, who show up in the last story, they are steadfast friends. The inked and digitally colored cartoon illustrations add a lot of humor to the stories, which helps readers along when the text falters due to weak story resolutions and details that don’t always make sense. Why, for example, do two saltshakers, Salt and Salt, show up in the second story instead of Salt and Pepper? Or why is Cheese grinning happily when he spies P.B. and Jay and says “Oh no, NOT THEM!”? The dedication is to James Marshall and Arnold Lobel, whose odd-couple friends George and Martha and Frog and Toad, respectively, surely inspired Proimos’ work and the very structure of this offering; but their influence doesn’t translate into a picture book that lives up to the standards they set.
Needs more flavor. (Picture book. 4-7)