Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love

Overview

In this lovely valentine of a book, Julie Paschkis offers young readers a glimpse of the extraordinary world that can be hidden in the simplest of things. Alfonso loves his colorful, magical existence. He also loves the brilliant, beautiful Ida. But Ida, nose in a book, just doesn’t seem to notice. Can he win her heart with a cake of his own creation if the salt is gathered from the deep blue ocean, the butter from the summer sun, and flour like snowflakes from a night sky? An exquisitely illustrated story about ...

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Overview

In this lovely valentine of a book, Julie Paschkis offers young readers a glimpse of the extraordinary world that can be hidden in the simplest of things. Alfonso loves his colorful, magical existence. He also loves the brilliant, beautiful Ida. But Ida, nose in a book, just doesn’t seem to notice. Can he win her heart with a cake of his own creation if the salt is gathered from the deep blue ocean, the butter from the summer sun, and flour like snowflakes from a night sky? An exquisitely illustrated story about imagination for children, but also a wonderful gift for lovestruck adults. (A treasured family recipe for apple cake included!)

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
…there's a genuine sweetness to Julie Paschkis's story and her delicate figures are beautifully arranged, swept off their feet, in the book's open, cream-colored pages.
—Pamela Paul
Publishers Weekly
Paschkis’s whimsical love story tells of lovelorn Alfonso, a beak-nosed man in a top hat and coattails, who cannot get bookworm Ida to pay attention to him. “So he decided to bake her a cake.” The recipe may sound ordinary enough, but Paschkis’s delicate gouache-and-ink paintings demonstrate that Alfonso’s efforts are entirely extraordinary. When the text announces that “he beat two tablespoons of butter with a cup of sugar,” Paschkis shows Alfonso hanging from a beam of butter-yellow sun, while butter drips from another triangular ray, and scooping sugar from a pale, puffy cloud. He finds an egg high atop a fanciful tree, ladles “a tiny bit of salt” from the sea, and stirs in three wishes: “one bitter and two sweet.” Painting on white backdrops, Paschkis (Mooshka, a Quilt Story) offers a lovely, pared-down aesthetic, compared to her heavily patterned earlier books, which emphasizes the loose, sweeping quality of her painting. The result is a story that exudes a pervasive sense of magic and underscores how far one gladly will go in the name of love. Ages 4–8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"A story that exudes a pervasive sense of magic and underscores how far one gladly will go in the name of love."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
"Sweethearts of any age will celebrate the joy of love and shared simple pleasures."—Kirkus

"The fine detail in the fantastical gouache-and-ink scenes demands close-up viewing—and possibly a post-storytime treat."—Booklist

"This story is a celebration of the imagination and should spark discussions about solving problems creatively."—School Library Journal

"There's a genuine sweetness to Julie Paschkis's story."—New York Times Online

"The simple text conveys the power of love and imagination. . . Absolutely enchanting."—Cleveland.com

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Ida is beautiful, kind, and brilliant, but she can find nothing more interesting than the book she is reading. No matter what the adoring Alfonso tries, he cannot get her attention. He decides to make her a cake. He collects three apples, one green and two red, peels them and cuts them up, then sets them in water while he makes the batter. The simple, basic brief text takes us through the rest of the recipe step by step, while the illustrations display the daring, elaborate actions Alfonso undertakes to collect and then mix the ingredients. He stirs in three wishes, one bitter and two sweet, before he bakes the cinnamon and sugar-sprinkled cake. What they are we must speculate from the illustrations. When she smells "something delicious," Ida finally puts down her book. "And together they ate it all up." This fanciful tale is visualized in a simplified, highly decorative style one might find embellishing a set of dishes for the cake. Koh-I-Noor black ink and Winsor & Newton gouache create the delicate flowers and butterflies as well as the mountains and stars of Alfonso's quest, along with the doll-like Ida and Alfonso. Lift off the jacket to see the charming contrasting cover. The recipe, printed on the end pages, will require adult help and supervision. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Her nose constantly in a book, Alfonso's beloved Ida is blind to all his attempts to woo her. He lavishes brilliant bouquets of flowers on her and serenades her, but "Ida never looked up." So he goes to great lengths to bake her an apple cake: squeezing butter from the sun, obtaining sugar from the clouds, plucking an egg from a nest atop a tall tree, even sailing the ocean for some salt. At last, the smell of Alfonso's cake prompts her to look up, smile, and eat it with him. Paschkis's small gouache and ink folk figures appear on large expanses of white space, and her familiar patterns are adorned with butterflies, flowers, and domed minarets. Although the text is minimal, the illustrations reveal that this suitor does nothing by half measures. "First he took three apples" shows Alfonso seeking the fruit from a tree at the very top of a mountain. In a page turn, readers see him slicing apples with a sword. "He sifted in a cup of flour" accompanies an image of Alfonso on top of a minaret collecting flour from the evening sky. This story is a celebration of the imagination and should spark discussions about solving problems creatively.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Alphonse lures Ida away from her book by making a cake for her. "Beautiful, kind, brilliant Ida… / always had her nose in a book." So begins this lighthearted and airy tribute to the powers of love and persistence. Alphonse tries to be interesting, but he is unable to get Ida's attention. He presents her with bouquets and butterflies and serenades her with guitar music, but still her eyes never leave the pages. He makes a cake, which turns into quite a production indeed. Paschkis takes a marvelous detour from her familiar style here. The pages are open, filled with white space and almost translucent gouache colors. Readers see Alphonse going to the ends of the earth for the ingredients: riding a horse up a mountain for apples, harvesting butter from the sun and sugar from clouds, climbing a tree to grab an egg from a nest, spooning salt from the sea and catching flour and baking powder from the sky. If all this weren't enough to prove his love, Alphonse dives into the bowl himself to stir the cake! The smell of the cake baking eventually gets Ida's attention, releasing a flood of butterflies and sunshine onto the final pages. Sweethearts of any age will celebrate the joy of love and shared simple pleasures. (Picture book. 4 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547807454
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 734,420
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Paschkis has illustrated many award-winning books, including Yellow Elephant by Julie Larios, Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal by Paul Fleischman, and Night Garden by Janet S. Wong. She lives in Seattle, Washington. Visit her at www.juliepaschkis.com

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