CUPCAKE by Charise Mericle Harper (Disney/Hyperion)
I promised you cake today.
I didn't want to like this book. Was it just adding its dozen to the cupcake craze sweeping every other block? Was it one of those overly-saccharine books that ultimately says "I'm okay, you're okay?" No. It was not. Yes, It capitalizes on our national love of frosting. Yes, it ultimately says, "I'm okay, you're okay," okay. But it also has a double-page spread of different cupcake characters (fancy flower-top cupcake, stripy cupcake, polka-dot cupcake) that is absolutely irresistible; how can you not choose a favorite? And for gosh sakes, don't we all need a candle, to help us find our inner light? This story is perfectly adorable, encouraging, and screams for various follow-up projects, whether decorating paper cupcakes or pulling out the pastry bags for some real action. Three yums up. (5 and up) And also, for lots of layers and zero calories, add BETTY BUNNY LOVES CHOCOLATE CAKE to your collection, featuring an energetic floppy-eared character that finds her cocoa-covered true love and is enamored enough to stick it in her sock. The thin-lined, watercolor illustrations are expressive and funny, and overall, a is the icing on the cake for a very realistic depiction of a hard-headed little girl in bunny's clothing (not that you might know any yourself). A nice choice for the FANCY NANCY and OLIVIA jet-set of readers. And if you're just in it for the pastry, please don't forget Janet Stein's THIS LITTLE BUNNY CAN BAKE, which lets some boys in the kitchen door, too. (5 and up)
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