Review of the Week – A Piece of Cake

cake

Pham, LeUyen. A Piece of Cake. LeUyen Pham, Illus. Picture Book.
Balzer & Bray, 2014. 40p. $16.99. 978-0-06-199264-3.
OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-1.

Whatever you do, don’t show this story to the pack rats in your
life. Mouse, generous to a fault, exchanges the birthday cake
he’s baked, piece by piece, for “a cork, a wire, a net, and a
flyswatter.” The resourceful recipient, Little Bird, manages to
trade each piece of junk for an ingredient with which they can
bake another cake for all to share. The fun of this story is that
the odds and ends are not used where they seem most obvious,
as when Little Bird gives Bear not the flyswatter for his
bee problem, but the cork, to trap the bees in the hive. LeUyen
Pham’s digital illustrations are as expressive as ever, but she’s
brightened her palette and dropped her usual thick black outlines,
giving her characters a soft and fuzzy feel. It’s too bad
the other animals don’t face any consequences for taking advantage
of Mouse’s generosity, but Mouse and Little Bird are
content in the end to have kindness and cleverness, which is a
fine message. This book will make a lovely, funny read-aloud
and perhaps a great birthday present.
Amy Martin, Oakland PL

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