A pair of siblings bakes cupcakes, with a little help from Kitty.
The preschooler and toddler gather ingredients, measure, and mix under the watchful eye of their playful tuxedo kitten. The declarative, sometimes imperative text is as straightforward as a recipe: “Sprinkle salt, but not too much. Don’t forget the baking powder. / Creaming the butter is hard work. / Sugar on fingers sure is sweet. Wash hands.” Those last two sentences are illustrated by, on verso, a close-up of the toddler with fingers in mouth; on recto, above the text, the kitten licks its paw. Readers will enjoy discussing whether the kitten is washing or enjoying a little spilled sugar. The children have straight black hair and brown skin; Mommy, visible only as a pair of hands lifting Kitty away from the flour, also has brown skin. Although she is in the kitchen, the focus is on the children’s activities, and the use of low-tech tools—they cream the butter by hand, hence the “hard work”—ensures that they can be active participants rather than bystanders. There is more than one mishap (Kitty takes care of the broken egg on the floor), but with more hand-washing and trying again, eventually the cupcakes are ready for Mommy to put them in the oven. Benoit’s art features distinct outlines, rounded figures, and soft colors—the mutual affection is apparent on every page.
A recipe for success. (Picture book. 2-4)