Baking Day at Grandma's

illus. by Christopher Denise. 32p. Philomel. Aug. 2014. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9780399242441.
PreS-Gr 1—Three little bears head through the snow to Grandma's. There, they bake, dance, drink hot chocolate, package up their baked goodies, and then head home, but the story is really about more than that. Grandma's love is nearly a tangible thing as reflected in the painterly illustrations, with their warm colors and cozy setting, and the images convey the sheer pleasure she feels in the company of her grandchildren. The cubs are clearly smitten with their grandmother, who towers over them kindheartedly, and with the tradition of baking day. This is no cloying treacle of nostalgia. Instead, the authenticity of the characters shines in a natural and enjoyable way. The text is a wonderful rhyming poem/song with the refrain, "It's baking day!/It's baking day!/It's baking day/at Grandma's!" And it's such fun to read aloud. "Old-time music, soft and sweet./Skippy notes and tapping feet./Learning songs that Grandma sings—/when the kitchen timer rings!" A recipe for Grandma Rosie's Chocolate Cake is included. This gentle story will leave children feeling warm and fuzzy. It's perfect for individual sharing, storytime, baking time, and pretty much any time.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
Three bear cubs visit Grandma while she bakes holiday goodies. Rhythmical text relates their day: "Wooden spoon and measuring cup, / mix the batter; stir it up. / Fold it gently in the pan, / lick the spoon because we can." The Photoshop art glows with warm hues; double-page spreads alternate with single-page illustrations facing creamy pages with spot art. A chocolate cake recipe is appended.

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