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ZUZU’S WISHING CAKE by Linda Michelin


by Linda Michelin & illustrated by D.B. Johnson

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2006
ISBN: 0-618-64640-X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Zuzu smiles a lot—at boxes, boots, bottle caps and the new boy next door, except he doesn’t smile back. She makes a telescope for him out of a paper towel tube (so he can see outside) and drives over in her box-car to deliver it—still no smile. Next she makes sunglasses out of strips of film negatives in case the sun is too bright. This time the boy’s mom answers the door, but she doesn’t understand English (her sari and sandals suggest her nationality). Zuzu’s zeal is undaunted as she makes a wishing cake of bread and strawberry layers and tops it with a fuzzy dandelion for a candle to blow out—which the boy does. Now Hashim smiles a lot, too. Johnson’s style of blockish characters and angular images painted in mixed-media animate this tomboyish pixie with her bowl-cut red hair, square eyes and cowboy boots. They playfully convey Zuzu’s bubbly enthusiasm and childhood exuberance with expressive, energetic cartoon-style panels and brightly colored palette. Message amiably concealed, but heartfelt and winning. (Picture book. 5-8)