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by Sue Fliess ; illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8075-2955-3
Publisher: Whitman

Simple rhymes, pictures and idea combine in this story that’s nevertheless a little too heavy on the instructional side.

It’s a summer birthday, with celebrants in shorts and sandals, baby and dog on the lawn, and the “birthday girl” wearing her crown. She and her mom bake a gluten-free cake together. Her friends, a multiethnic group with button eyes and comma noses, join in the piñata fun and the face-painting, until it is time to go in for cake. One boy sits forlornly outside, and when the protagonist goes to get him, he explains he cannot eat gluten. Surprise! She says she cannot either and that all can be merry. It is hard to believe a child who needs to avoid gluten would not already know that one of her guests does too, as is the notion that the boy would have gone to a birthday party without his parent checking the gluten situation out. In any case, it ends with a promise for ice-cream pie the next year. Included are two gluten-free recipes (although the Chocolate-Cookie-Crumble cake does include half a cup of brewed decaf coffee, which may give some pause). There are also tips for friends and family with gluten sensitivities (the author uses the word “allergy” but does not talk directly about celiac disease, which is not an allergy) and a short list of websites.

Somewhat useful if not particularly artful. (Picture book. 4-7)