Basic math is inescapable, even at dinner parties with the lion king. At this royal meal, the elephant takes half the cake before passing it along, the hippo takes half of that, and so on. When the cake finally reaches the ant, she struggles to cut the tiny remaining slice in two—one for her, one for the king—but it just crumbles to pieces. Mortified, she vows to bake the king a strawberry sponge cake. The other, ruder, animals, not to be outdone, each double the ant’s offering… crescendoing to the elephant’s hard-to-swallow pledge of 256 peanut-butter pound cakes. In addition to witnessing the occasional price of boorishness, young readers will easily grasp how fast things disappear when repeatedly halved, and how quickly numbers add up when doubled. A divided-up cake on the endpapers illustrates fractions from one to 1/128, and the o’er-hasty cake-doublings are displayed in countable cake form, from one to 256. The handsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations are as gently funny as the story, and the heavily partitioned design well suits the math lesson at hand. *(Picture book. 6-8)*