The Cookie Maker of Mavin Road

Candlewick. Nov. 2021. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536219975.
PreS-Gr 2–When a community grows fractured, a special approach is required to reunite it once again. Benedict Stanley lives on Mavin Road with his cat, Audrey May. Every morning, they watch as their neighbors make their way down the road, distracted and unaware of Benedict’s friendly greetings. A child named Rory breaks through the divide and tells Benedict of an upcoming visit from the tooth fairy, Benedict dusts off his wife’s cookbook and sets about making treats to celebrate the events in his neighborhood. This picture book uses very few words, only a sentence or two on each page, but it presents a profound message. Young readers will easily grasp the accessible language, while older readers will recognize the depth of the nuanced tale. Detailed, collage-style illustrations feature textures and patterns and encourage lengthy examination apart from the narrative. A multicultural collection of faces surrounds Benedict, who is depicted as an older, light-skinned man with graying hair. The world outside of Benedict’s abode is drab and dreary, but as he spreads cheer through cookies, he shares the vibrant hues of his home with his neighbors. Color shifts throughout the story as positive energy flows into and out of Benedict’s home, and readers will appreciate the dynamic nature of this approach over multiple readings. Speech bubbles connect the text to the visuals, and several pages incorporate the telltale staining found in much-loved cookbooks.
VERDICT This multifaceted story of community connection is a thought-provoking addition to libraries for young readers.

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