DARSHANA KHIANI INTERVIEWS RAJANI LAROCCA, AUTHOR OF MIRROR TO MIRROR (Quill Tree Books;…
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
Written and illustrated by Rowboat Watkins
(Chronicle Books: $16.99, Ages 3-5)
A treat for parents and kids!
At first glance, the cover of Rude Cakes definitely whet my appetite, and then when I turned to the title page and read that this picture book, out just last month, was “cooked up” by Rowboat Watkins, I knew I just had to dig in. Frankly, I’d read anything by someone called Rowboat so I’m happy Rude Cakes turned out to be a huge treat!
Watkins, a former Sendak Fellow, serves up a filling mix of art and prose in under 200 words. I also adored the illustrations with a style resembling cotton candy awash in jelly bean hues, all light, airy and fanciful. Coupled with the marvelous artwork is a storyline familiar to us all and worth repeating. Manners maketh man or in this case, cake. The two-tiered, two-toned pink cake, never hesitating to push, pull and take what it likes, could use a few lessons in how to treat both its parents and its friends.
Rude cakes never listen (especially when their parents sound boring)
and they never wait their turn in line.
After much rudeness to its so-called pals, a marshmallow and a cupcake, the rude bubble-gum colored cake calls it a night … when it’s ready! Here the illustrations depict the dessert bouncing around holding its trusty cyclops stuffed toy. Note: point out to little ones that the cyclops poster above Pink Cake’s bed says EYE SEE YOU. Soon, in a dream (or did it really happen in this fantastical story?) the obnoxious confection is plucked from its bed, mistaken for a hat. into a parallel universe.
This parallel universe of sorts is a place where …
Giant Cyclopses always say thank you,
and they always say please,
and they love to share.
These thoughtful, well behaved Giant Cyclopses compliment the hat, ask to borrow the hat, all the while demonstrating the rewards of good manners. In fact, it turns out that the only way this tired and boorish gateau is going to be heard by the Giant Cyclopses, is by using one little but powerful magic word. But to convince a bunch of cyclopses that it’s not a hat, Pink Cake must ask in a polite, not half-baked way to be returned back to bed. Because in the end, don’t good manners always take the cake?
– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel
Click here for directions on how to make an origami eye.
If you’d like to see another perspective on this picture book, please click here to read blogger Danielle Davis’ take on Watkins’ scrumptious story.