Varon returns with another strange and charming graphic work that touches on the theme of her terrific Robot Dreams (2007), namely: how fine friendship can be, and how surely it leads you down a twisty road of joys and melancholy.
Here the main characters are Cupcake, a cupcake, and Eggplant, an eggplant (this is a world of animated foodstuffs). Cupcake runs a bakery and plays in a band with Eggplant. Eggplant has plans to travel to Turkey to see his family and, to Cupcake’s envy, meet Turkish Delight, the world-renowned master of confections. Cupcake pulls double shifts at bake sales to save up enough drachmas to go along with Eggplant—losing his place in the band when an angry avocado takes on a new potato because Cupcake is too distracted—but then hands over the cash when Eggplant loses his job and his funding falls through. Varon loads the tale with all manner of idiosyncratic touches—a slice of bacon knocks the cherry off Cupcake’s head, which is replaced by a blueberry; a great scene in a Turkish bath finds Cupcake’s wrapper peeling—which gives a soft, unpredictable feel to the proceedings. The colors are lovely, low-key renderings, and the format has a decided two-dimensionality.
An offbeat story about the sacrifices made for friends, about the very everydayness of such acts and the pitfalls and pleasures in their wake. (Picture book. 6 & up)