Can this birthday be saved?
Beaver is an exacting sort, and he’s planned the perfect birthday cake for his upcoming celebration. Unlike a certain little red hen, from the start he’d prefer to do it himself, but his enthusiastic friends—Tortoise, Bird, Rabbit, and Squirrel—are determined to help bake the cake. A series of mishaps on the parts of these well-intentioned pals makes for a result that is less than perfect according to Beaver’s perfectionist point of view. In a rage, he tells everyone to leave and then starts all over, following the complicated recipe to the letter and into the night. This time, the cake is perfect, but when Beaver digs into a slice, he also begins to sob with loneliness and regret. His friends overhear his cries and graciously return to his side and comfort him, resolving to celebrate the next day after everyone’s had a good night’s sleep. When they do celebrate, they use the original cake (what becomes of the “perfect” one is unclear), and all’s well that ends well. Throughout, Hudson’s accompanying illustrations use a nice balance of spot and full-page compositions to support pacing and offer faithful depictions of the characters and events in the story. A good sense of movement and expression animates the anthropomorphic characters, adding humor to the telling.
Sweet as cake. (Picture book. 4-7)