Food Network star chef Florence and esteemed graphic artist Frazier serve up a third entry about cooking and food origins.
This time it’s Tofu the dog’s birthday, so his owner, Tyler, wants to bake a birthday cake. Boy and dog visit their favorite bakery, where Mr. Baker offers to let them help bake a carrot cake. The baker whisks Tyler and Tofu off on a magical journey to see where several specialized cake ingredients originate. The story, told entirely in dialogue, is not particularly compelling, and the ingredients, such as raisins, carrots and walnuts, are only mildly interesting as fodder for illustrations. Tyler helps bake the cake, but Mr. Baker decorates it himself and then brings an additional cake suitable for dogs to the party. Frazier’s accomplished illustrations use a flattened, childlike perspective, thick outlines and white space to create a strong graphic appeal. Tofu is always a source of visual comic relief, with humorous thought-bubble vignettes and indulging in such antics as barking up a tree or wearing a dripping bowl on his head. The birthday party is an amusing scene with a hydrant-shaped piñata and cavorting canines, though only one of the eight party guests appears to be female.
Like most desserts, sweet and enjoyable but not essential. (Picture book. 4-7)