From the Publisher
Review, Cookie Magazine, September 2008:
"The pro-simplicity parable is told via a funny, funky art style."
Review, The Wall Street Journal, September 20-21, 2008:
"Some books are meant to be tasted. . . and The Donut Chef appears to be one of them. Mr Staake's work is . . . visually delicious."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, October 27, 2008:
"Everywhere readers look, there are delectable surprises."
Rival donut chefs compete for customers by concocting ever more exotic offerings in this eye-catching title from the creator of The Red Lemon. Geometric art in spun-sugar-smooth colors produces a vintage feel; relayed in jubilant rhymed couplets, the story, too, pays tribute to simple pleasures. As each chef innovates, his goods become less and less appealing: "We've donuts laced with kiwi jam,/ and served inside an open clam!/ Donuts made with huckleberry/ (Don't be scared; they're kind of hairy)." Only a girl's request for a glazed donut stops the insanity. The real fun here lies in the visuals: the rotund chef, winking with a semicircular eyebrow and smiling his half-moon-shaped smile; bakery displays of impossibly gorgeous goods; fantastically tall or wide passersby. Everywhere readers look, there are delectable surprises. Ages 3-5. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Have you ever dreamed of opening your own donut shop? Once upon a summer's day, a donut chef opens a shop on a busy city street. He washes walls and sweeps floors and then he hangs up a sign reading "Donut Land" to welcome customers. Every day the donut chef works hard mixing flour, sugar, and lard into donuts that people all over the city enjoy eating, but soon another chef opens a donut shop across the street, and the battle of the donuts begins. The two chefs cook up all sorts of exotic recipesCherry-Frosted Lemon Bar, Peanut-Brickle Buttermilk, and Gooey Cocoa-Mocha Silk. They create donuts in crazy shapes and sizes, including a donut that looks like a piece of macaroni. Soon the donuts no longer look or taste like donuts, but the cooks continue making crazy frosted food. Little Debbie Sue walks into the store one afternoon and cannot find the one donut she wants to eat, an old-fashioned glazed donut. What happens next? The chef cooks up a glazed donut for Debbie Sue and discovers that simple flavors sell. Soon the chef changes the name of the shop to Amazing Glazed and customers are lining up for simple, old-fashioned donuts. The Donut Chef is highly recommended for donut lovers of all ages. Parents and children will enjoy looking at the delicious pictures that accompany this fun story. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
This cautionary tale tells of a baker who almost loses track of his true calling while trying to outwit and outdo a competitor. The donut chef is proud of his newly opened store, and his success becomes so great that another man decides to open his own establishment, vowing, "Your shop is through.../When my store opens next to you!" The feud soon becomes fierce, with each owner creating confections in bizarre flavors like "Peanut-Brickle Buttermilk,/And Gooey Cocoa-Mocha Silk," and in even stranger shapes. But sometimes competition can destroy, too, as the sweets soon lose "their taste. They'd lost their soul./They'd even lost their donut hole!" It takes little Debbie Sue and her request for a simple glazed donut to bring the chef to his senses. Soon other customers are clamoring for the same thing, and, now enlightened, the baker goes back to basics. The entire book has a retro tone, from its lengthy rhyming text to its Art Deco-style illustrations, which are updated with more modern-looking graphic shapes and a multicolored palette. The pictures are slightly reminiscent of Dan Yaccarino's work, but with much sharper, more clearly defined lines. Aside from a jarring mistake when a shop "selling round the clock" becomes one whose doors close "at six," the story's lively rhythmic text and colorful artwork should make it a good pick for storytime.-Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY
The wild popularity of a new donut shop brings on the kind of competition that no donut-lover wants, the kind where traditional glazed and sugar donuts give way to such imposters as Gooey Cocoa-Mocha Silk and Cherry-Frosted Lemon Bar. Donutland, filled with familiar round donuts and an equally round chef, has lines of hungry people out the door. A pencil-thin competitor gets wind of the success and throws down the yeasty gauntlet: "Your shop is through . . . / When my store opens next to you!" When the donut war escalates beyond absurdity, it takes a wise girl to remind the grown-ups that sometimes simple is best. Told in rhyme, the story meshes nicely with Staake's familiar, multicolored people and geometric style. High-energy illustrations invite young listeners to explore the busy street scenes for details. When the round chef, toting a single glazed donut, leads the sweet parade off the last page, all will know that sanity has returned. Pour a tall glass of milk for this yummy treat. (Picture book. 2-5)