A young boy who loves to sniff the lemon whiff and to clink the dishes in the sink helps his Pop Pop bake a cake.
Children's LiteratureA young boy and his grandfather bake a cake in this rhyming picture book. They begin as the young boy washes his hands with his grandfather, Pop Pop, nearby. The rhymes reflect the young cook's actions as he squeezes a lemon, pours milk, adds eggs, and pours the batter into the pan. Throughout the baking, the boy's grandfather provides support. The interaction between the adult and the child as they perform the tasks of making the cake is one of the best things about this story. While some of the rhymes appear a bit forced, Ms. Smalls has chosen some wonderful sounding words, such as "Whrr whrr" for the blender and "clack clack" for the spoon. The artist, Cathy Ann Johnson, does a nice job of illustrating the activity from different perspectives. Sometimes the boy and grandfather appear very small and sometimes they appear on different places of the page. The soft tones of the illustrations suit the gentle bond between the two cooks. The illustration of the grandfather and child is one of the best because it shows the enthusiasm they have for the culinary project. The illustrations also bring the baking activities to the foreground, as the rhyming words echo what is happening in the pictures. The book might appeal to a wider audience if the author had used a more obvious sequence for the tasks of baking a cake. Some of the baking steps are not included, such as pre-heating the oven, preparing the lemon, and measuring the ingredients. Nevertheless, this is a small quibble about a book that shows a warm, cooperative, unique project between two generations of males. Although the assembly of the double-layer cake appears too easy and the kettle noise serves no real purpose, the ending hugbetween the two cooks satisfies. The recipe for the lemon layer cake appears at the end of the book. This book is a good way to introduce poetry and words that illustrate sound in a early elementary classroom. It would also make for a lively story time with a grandfather and grandson despite the missed cooking steps and forced rhymes. 2006, Little Brown and Company, Ages 3 to 8.
School Library JournalPreS-Gr 1-This tasty love story is told by an African-American boy who shares his love for his grandfather and lemon cake. It captures a sweet memory of a child baking with his elderly relative and the wonder and love that go into the recipe. The rhyming text seems forced at times and is somewhat uneven, e.g., "Sniff sniff the lemon whiff/Peel peel I love the lemon feel/Pish pish the lemon till it's squished." However, the mood is cheery, the temperature is toasty, and the illustrations keep the story moving along until the cake is done. Johnson's art swirls from page to page, using humor and changing perspective to add spark and sparkle to the story. This book would be a good choice for teaching young children about onomatopoeia and for discussing extended families and gender roles.-Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsA baking project turns into an afternoon of adventure and fun for a little boy and his grandfather. An obvious companion piece to the creators' My Nana and Me (2005), this has the same swirling type and warm pastel palette, using water-based paint on watercolor board. All the sentences begin with a phonically fun verb run-"dip dip," "scrape scrape," "slurp slurp"-that also moves the baking project along. Each swirling line of text is also a short rhyme (or near-rhyme): "Pound pound the batter goes round," "Pish pish the lemon till it's squished." Ever-smiling Pop Pop has a white brush of mustache and eyeglasses resting halfway down his nose. The pictures depict a humorously slapdash baking and clean-up process. The pair ends up with a tasty "lemon bar cake bar," and the reader gets the step-by-step recipe. A slight but delectable bit of whimsy. (Picture book. 2-6)
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