This humorous struggle for self-control also models apology and restitution.

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I REALLY WANT THE CAKE

A child and a dog fight a losing battle to resist a tempting—but forbidden—chocolate cake.

Each step in this hilarious struggle is narrated by the child in a three-line rhyme that culminates in an increasingly emotional refrain (in fun type to match) as the battle for self-control escalates. “I think I want the cake” leads to “You must not eat the cake” and “I must… / … forget the cake” until “I’m going BACK for cake.” Undone, the child licks the cake, then takes a bite—and then dog and child annihilate the cake. “I know I’ve not been very wise. / And what I’ve done I can’t disguise. / I might have to apologize… / …because I ate the cake.” To make amends, the child, who’s never baked, decides to replace the cake. “It’s EASY making cake!” until things go wrong. Eggs smash on the table, batter splatters, and a predictable mess engulfs the kitchen, child, and dog. Despite stress and mess, the child is at last able to say, “but hey, I’ve made you cake!” And it’s a delightfully decorated cake at that. Multipanel spreads with exuberantly scribbly cartoon illustrations keep the action moving, and close-ups of the pale-skinned, black-haired child’s face capture the emotional turmoil that ensues. 

This humorous struggle for self-control also models apology and restitution. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-58941-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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