HOW TO BAKE A BOOK by Ella Burfoot
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99, Ages 3-7)
Do you like your stories sweet or savory? Prefer plots with a measure of mystery or a dollop of delight? According to the clever heroine in Ella Burfoot’s charming picture book, HOW TO BAKE A BOOK, it is easy as pie to follow the recipe for writing success!
In an adorably outfitted kitchen filled with baking implements and paper dolls, a girl sporting punctuation hair barrettes announces “I am going to bake a book!” She starts with words, big and small, carefully weighing, beating, whisking and mixing until the batter is just right. Rolling out the dough, she uses assorted cookie cutters to assemble a cast of characters, and adds a heaping spoonful of feelings, colors and sounds.
In bouncy rhyme she perseveres, “Next the middle, the action, the filling. Into the pan without any spilling.” Next “Turn up the heat— the bubbles quicken. And then my plot begins to thicken.” In the pantry she searches high atop a ladder, reaching the highest shelf for the proper punctuation. There, between the alphabet spaghetti and dried princess peas, she locates two shakers marked periods and capital letters.
Burfoot’s unique, imaginative tale is a creative introduction to kids learning how to develop a story from scratch. Young listeners will appreciate the light rhythm and rhyme, while older readers will find additional humor in the silly and significant images sprinkled throughout the illustrations.
Bright, cheerful colors make the original and witty images sparkle. Carefully placed text winds the reader’s eye through the “baking” instructions step by step. Mixed-media artwork is a special detail feature, highlighting all manner of textiles, drawings and papers throughout. The main character smiles happily as she stirs and glazes, sometimes miniaturized to row a teacup boat or to leap nimbly from bottle top to bottle top.
This wonderful, whimsical story will delight those who create and enjoy books, and open the door to fun and lighthearted discussions about the elements that make the best books especially delicious!
– (Tastefully) Reviewed by Cathy Ballou Mealey
Where Obtained: I reviewed a promotional PDF file copy of HOW TO BAKE A BOOK and received no compensation. The opinions expressed here are my own.