Thursday, January 29, 2015


Anderson and I do a lot of cooking and baking together.  Pouring, mixing, measuring... he never tires of these.

Baking Day at Grandma's
by Anika Denise
illustrated by Christopher Denise

Baking Day at Grandma's is the perfect winter-time read.  The artwork is warm with browns, greens, and grandma's pretty pink shawl, and matches the calm rhythm of the story.  Toddlers younger than three years would also enjoy this book because of the rhyme, repetition, and simplicity of the story.  I thought it might be too young for Anderson, but we both enjoy its coziness: Old-time music, soft and sweet.  Skippy notes and tapping feet.  Learning songs that Grandma sings- when the kitchen timer rings! 

I've noticed grandmothers in books don't resemble today's grandmothers... wearing a shawl and listening to music on the gramophone, as in this book- but I love the archetypal warmth of the big grandma bear.  Safe is the word that comes to mind for grandma's house in this book.  The snow blankets everything outside, grandma is large and encompassing, and it feels insulated from any worries of the outside world.

Product Details
Bunny Cakes
by Rosemary Wells

You are perhaps acquainted with Max and Ruby, brother and sister rabbits created by Rosemary Wells.  This book was my first encounter with the funny duo.  I quickly looked for more Max and Ruby books at our library thinking I would review two from Wells, but from what I found (there weren't nearly as many as what I see listed online), this one "takes the cake".

I have read few picture books that I find laugh out-loud-funny, so I was surprised to find myself doing just that while reading this story.  While the premise is simple, the way the story is told is what makes it fun to read.  Ruby is making a birthday cake for grandma, and Max keeps getting in the way and spilling ingredients.  Max is repeatedly sent to the store to pick up what he's spilled, and unfortunately for Max, the grocer cannot read his additions to the lists.  Max is eventually banned from the kitchen altogether, so he sets himself to making an earthworm cake with caterpillar icing.

It's fun to watch Max making a mess and annoying his sister, since sometimes its hard to laugh when it's happening in my own house.  If it's on purpose, he's surely not letting on.  Max's failed efforts to communicate with the grocer remind me of how hard toddlers work to communicate and get what they want!  Max is undeterred and smiles through it all... perhaps unlike most toddlers, but so endearing in a little bunny!

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