Mmmmmmm . . . “Sniff-sniff. Is that what I think it is?”
My highly sensitive olfactories are picking up traces of vanilla buttercream and luscious lemon. No, wait. There’s also deep dark chocolate with just a sprinkle of Oklahoma pecans. Yes! And bless my crumbs, even more: strawberry and cherry and carrot and coconut!
Could it be c-c-c-c-a-k-e? 😍
Lucky us, just so happens it’s something even better — a BOOK about cake!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Just last week, inimitable picture book queen Tammi Sauer (who’s previously cavorted with cowboys, chickens, ducks, cave boys, chipmunks, aliens, princesses, and sharks) officially served up the freshly baked I Love Cake! (HarperCollins, 2016). Charmingly illustrated in cheery candy colors by Angie Rozelaar, this clever comedic confection stars three lovable characters: Rabbit, Porcupine, and
They are best friends who love to hang out together: orderly Rabbit likes to be in charge, fun-loving Porcupine likes to play, and Moose — well, jokey Moose is Moose.
When Rabbit’s birthday rolls around, she decides to throw a party. Things get underway with some bouncing on the trampoline and a game of pin the tail on the chipmunk. Rabbit and Porcupine are really into it, but Moose is distracted by . . . a heavenly aroma.
Soon Rabbit and Porcupine hear a mysterious noise (“nom-nom-nom”), but don’t think too much of it until it’s time for cake. Holy frosting, the cake is gone! And so is Moose!
Hmmmm. “Rabbit and Porcupine looked everywhere for the missing cake and the missing Moose.”
They finally find Moose with cake crumbs on his fur. He denies eating the cake even after they give him the LOOK. Moose lets out a big BURP and they smell cake on his breath! Uh-oh. Rabbit and Porcupine are understandably upset and start to cry. No cake. Moose lied. Although he finally admits to eating the cake, the birthday party is ruined. Can he make it up to them?
Tammi has skillfully layered her droll narrative with hilarious asides and engaging banter to ramp up the fun and keep the action moving along at a good steady clip. Moose’s opening line will have kids giggling from the get-go, signaling that he will be the one to watch.
I love how all three characters are given equal time and their personalities are well established with just a few words and Rozelaar’s endearing, emotive pictures. The posturing and facial expressions are priceless; big eyes convey a wide range of emotions from elation to anticipation, surprise, suspicion, anger, and disappointment. This delightful tale of friendship and forgiveness is flavored with just the right amounts of humor, suspense, and kooky élan in an appealing setting of fresh air, rubber balls, wagons, trampolines, landline telephones(!), flower pots and patterned tablecloths. Who can resist naughty, impulsive Moose?
Whether or not they are cake lovers (how can anyone not love cake?), kids will easily be able to relate to Moose’s dilemma of sometimes being tempted and having willpower fly out the window. We’ve all taken just a bite of something for an innocent taste, then find ourselves taking another bite, then another . . . and pretty soon that tasty rascal has disappeared all of its own accord. 😀 When it comes to food we really love, usually all bets are off, but it’s good to be reminded that delicious anticipation, delayed gratification, and sharing the spoils all have their own rewards.
A word of caution: though this book is absolutely adorable, it’s also quite dangerous. You’ll likely find yourself licking the pages and craving CAKE! CAKE! CAKE!, prompting you to run into your kitchen to bake one, or race to the bakery to buy one. And once said cake is in your possession, there is always the risk of the entire thing falling into your mouth. Goodness gracious ganache! What to do? Make the moose of it, of course. 🙂
🍰 BACKSTORY BITE + RECIPE 🍰
Inquiring minds may wish to know what inspired this cheeky high-caloric chronicle. Seems that back in 2013, Tammi spied a hand-painted plate in my post about London-based artist James Ward (dba Jimbobart). It featured a bear in red underpants with the caption, “Cake. What Cake?”
Well, that set Tammi’s creative wheels turning and her stomach growling, and the rest, as they say, is history. Lesson to be learned? A little guilt goes a long way. You see, Tammi was reading my blog that day because she was *ahem* procrastinating, and though there were other Jimbobart images to look at, the guilty bear with crumbs is the one that made the biggest impression on her. Guilty sees as guilty does. In this case, a very good thing. Judging by the supreme deliciousness of the book, it’s obvious Tammi more than stepped up to the plate. 🙂
And now, CAKE! Of course you want some. Thanks to Tammi for sharing her favorite Coconut Cake recipe with us. It sounds positively scrumptious, and I was tempted to make it for this post, but was certain the same thing that happened to Moose would happen to me. Do you dare?
🎂 🎂 🎂 COCONUT CAKE 🎂 🎂 🎂
1 BUTTER CAKE MIX
Bake as directed in 2 layers.
- 8 oz sour cream
- 12 oz frozen coconut
- 2 cups sugar
Mix and let stand in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Reserve 1 cup filling for icing. Put remainder between layers.
- 1-1/2 cups cool whip
- 1 cup reserved filling
Ice cake. Cover lightly and refrigerate 3 days.
*nom nom nom*
🐰 LET THEM EAT CAKE! 🐻
Everyone in the Alphabet Soup kitchen is of course crazy cakes in love with this book, especially Hatley the Moose and his younger brother Trudeau. Mr Cornelius was ecstatic when he heard that a bear inspired the story. Naturally, he set about baking and decorating a variety of little cakes by way of celebration. Cakes, cakes, everywhere cakes! Once the word got out, we had some unexpected guests drop by. No surprise, everyone loves cake!
Thank you for creating this book, Tammi and Angie!
We have to say it:
You take the cake!
* * *
I LOVE CAKE!: Starring Rabbit, Porcupine and Moose
written by Tammi Sauer
illustrated by Angie Rozelaar
published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, May 3, 2016
Picture Book for ages 4-8, 40 pp.
♥ Check out Tammi’s post at Picture Book Builders to see when she and her editor Jill Davis attacked a CAKE at HarperCollins in NYC. Leave a comment there for a chance to win a copy of the book!
♥ Check out this adorable book trailer by Janee Trasler:
This post is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Grab your favorite aprons and bibs and come join the fun!
*Interior spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2016 Tammi Sauer, illustrations © 2016 Angie Rozelaar, published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.