Book: Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
Author: Michael Kaplan
Illustrator: Stephane Jorisch
Age Range: 4-8
Who can resist a picture book about the love of chocolate cake? Well, ok, it's also about patience and deferred gratification. But it's mostly about cake. Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake, written by Michael Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch is about young Betty Bunny, a somewhat picky eater who tries chocolate cake for the first time. Her response:
"It was the yummiest thing she had ever put in her mouth. "When I grow up, I am going to marry chocolate cake!" said Betty Bunny."
When her mother tucks her in at night, and says "I love you," Betty's response is: "I love chocolate cake." Betty Bunny is "a handful", and proud of it.
Unfortunately, Betty Bunny's love of chocolate cake leads to some bad behavior, at school and at home, as well as an attempt to keep chocolate cake in her pocket all day that does NOT end well. The lesson about patience is a tiny bit strong for my taste, but just barely. And in the end, the irrepressible Betty Bunny is still a handful, and still loves chocolate cake. Which is what counts.
Kaplan's writing style is straightforward, without much advanced vocabulary, but with a sympathetic understanding of the way kids think. Like this:
"The next morning, Betty Bunny wanted to say good-bye to her chocolate cake before she left for school. So she opened the refrigerator and saw her piece of cake sitting on its plate. It looked so lonely.
Betty Bunny knew that the cake would miss her all day while she was at school.
So she picked it up and put it in her pocket."
That made me laugh. I can only imagine that preschoolers will find it hilarious.
Jorisch's pencil, ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations are brightly colored, and center more on characters than on background. Betty's moods are revealed in her stance and her expressions. Although her family consists of bunnies, they actually look more like people who happen to have bunny faces and ears. I like the way her parents' expressions (especially her mother's) range from stern to loving, depending on the circumstances. And, of course, there are lots of pictures of chocolate cake. So it would be hard to really go wrong with the illustrations.
Seriously, though, Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake is a fun, lively read that celebrates parental love, patience, and chocolate cake. It would probably make a good school or library read-aloud. But parents may want to keep it away from their children until they are already chocolate-cake-addicted.
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (@ThePenguinPeeps)
Publication Date: May 5, 2011
Source of Book: Library copy
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Karin Lackmann
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).