Mariah has only an hour to make a cake for the monsters’ arrival; will Brendan’s advice about equivalent measurements help her or slow her down?
Readers are sure to empathize as Mariah works to throw all the ingredients together and is constantly met with Brendan’s tips about equivalency. His help often feels more like he’s hitting her over the head with information (rather gleefully, at that) when she’s already overwhelmed. As Mariah says, “Grrrr….This is too much.” Readers will likely feel the same. This is neither a good introduction to equivalency nor a reinforcement of the concept. Only once does Brendan encourage her to fully understand that, say, four ¼ cups are equal to one cup—otherwise it’s a litany of Brendan’s assertions against Mariah’s protests. And the informative backmatter is limited to a half-page encouraging readers to use measuring cups and rice or water to experiment with equivalency. Jensen’s illustrations are appropriately monster-ish, from the creepy ingredients to the small details amid an otherwise ordinary-seeming kitchen. Mariah and Brendan are monsters themselves: she is pink with long floppy ears and a unicorn horn, and he is blue with five eyes on stalks on the top of his head. A recipe for monster cake follows the tale, though readers should not expect to pull a perfectly decorated layer cake out of the oven as Mariah does.
Though well-meaning, Knowlton’s tale is a beastly explanation of equivalency. (Picture book. 4-7)