Medina presents the third in a series (ABC Pasta and 1 Big Salad, both 2016) that brings together an early-learning concept, photographed food items, doodled black lines, and a unifying setting.
Here, 12 shapes—fruits, sweets, and baked goods sourced in Medina’s Washington, D.C., environs—are embodied as forest animals. Each shape is depicted and spelled out in all-caps at the top of a page. Thick black lines turn the bright pink circle of a macaron into an owl; oval jelly beans become the bodies of butterflies. Most of the sweets’ shapes derive from the way they’re cut: there’s a square “Carmelita Deer” and a rectangular “Brownie Bear.” This conceit stretches to include a cross, cut from a Rice Krispies square, for a wolf’s face and arrows cut from pecan-pie slices standing in as chipmunks. Thick line drawings lend a coloring-book feel to the compositions, since many animals appear against white space. Typefaces selected for display and text type (Burbank big wide and Bodoni Six) compete with rather than complement each other, and digitally stylized branches, grass, and other bits add to the visual disjointedness. A recipe for chocolate-covered strawberries, requiring a double boiler, a pound of bittersweet chocolate, and an unspecified quantity of strawberries, is appended.
While fans of the earlier titles might enjoy every bite of this one, it doesn’t jell as well as its predecessors, conceptually or visually. (Picture book. 3-5)