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*This Little Bunny Can Bake* by Janet Stein
This Little Bunny Can Bake
by Janet Stein
Ages 4-8 40 pages Schwartz & Wade March 2009 Hardcover    

Students follow their noses to Chef George’s class. The first day of Dessertology School is about to begin, but only one student is ready. Bunny sits at her desk with her book open while the other students are preoccupied with themselves or each other. Tiger lies on top of his desk staring at the ceiling, Spoonbill and Dog talk about fishcakes and shoo-fly pie, and Poodle is busy grooming herself. When Chef George enters the classroom, he assumes no one knows anything about dessert, so he’s not surprised when one student raises her hand and asks, “What’s an ingredient?”

Most of the class is more concerned about when they’ll eat than learning about the basics, such as pot, spoon, and stove identification, but one student does stay focused. Bunny studies the books from the world’s greatest dessert chefs; she pays attention during nose training, and she remembers to measure carefully when it’s time to bake. While Cat and Dog are busy cutting each other out of the cookie dough and Tiger practices his karate chop on the eggs, Bunny concentrates on making a message for the top of her four-layer cake.

When everyone’s dessert comes out of the oven, Chef George is there to take pictures. Readers see how Dog has added decorative shoe toppings to his pie and how Spoonbill has topped his dessert with fish parts. Bunny has a picture, too, and by the looks of what is left of her dessert, it was a hit with the class - and Chef George.

Rendered in brush and ink, all the illustrations in This Little Bunny Can Bake are in black, white and gray, except for the pink seen on Bunny and her cake and the red used for the stars on the cooking school and the text of the story. The few times a student talks, the text appears in black and away from the main text. Appearing on the four endpapers of the book are eight of Chef George’s recipes, including Milk Chocolate Truffles, Frozen Banana Pops, and Crazy Coconut Lime Macaroons.

Set inside the dessert school, most of the action takes place in the kitchen or around a desk. There is humor in many of the illustrations as well. In one picture, Mouse stands in a measuring cup, up to his waist in milk. His hand is in the air signaling to Dog that he can stop pouring now. Unfortunately, Dog is looking away.

After reading This Little Bunny Can Bake, which was inspired by the author’s own cooking school experience, parents and children can take what they learned from the book, make one of Chef George’s recipes, and create their own scrapbook of memories just as the class does in this story.

Janet Stein studied fine art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Chicago Art Institute. She not only writes, paints, and bakes; she also makes clothes and hats, builds furniture, and fixes toys. She lives in Barcelona.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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