Ellie the elephant learns to make a tiny apple pie.
Ellie is brushed off during a “grown-up party,” but instead of going to bed, she makes an amazing discovery. Inside the little mouse hole is a TV studio where a mouse chef is teaching the audience to make a tiny apple pie. To rhyming couplets, Ellie learns about mixing and rolling out dough, chopping apples and seasoning the pies. It took four people to create this confusing concoction: two writers, one illustrator and chef Alice Waters, whose Edible Schoolyard Project is to receive a portion of the proceeds from sales of this book. Busy, bright illustrations show an array of animals wearing everything from tuxedos to evening dresses to a chef’s coat. Children will empathize when Ellie is left out of the adult party because she is too little, but the transition from her view through the mouse hole to what appears to be a dream sequence is far harder to gauge. Also, the story starts at bedtime but ends with mom and dad discovering her snoozing on the floor in front of the mouse hole and then making pie with Ellie. What happened to her sleep or to their party? Another quibble: The pies shown in the kitchen scenes and on the recipe page are two-crust pies, while Waters’ recipe is for a never-pictured turnover. The recipe is lengthy and complicated.
A muddle. (Picture book. 4-7)