A Great Cake by Tina Matthews, Walker Books Australia
Tina Matthews is an author/illustrator who was born in New Zealand but lives in Sydney. Her previous two books have been successful, achieving awards and shortlistings. The story in this handsome hardback book is simple but satisfying. Harvey wants to bake a cake but they don’t have the right ingredients. Harvey uses his imagination – and bakes a cake incorporating toothpaste, flannels, rubber duckies and a hot water bottle. Using a sturdy repetitive format, the author describes the correct ingredients and actions for a cake, but the illustrations show what Harvey is really doing. This format is repeated twice, and then Harvey’s father comes to the rescue and produces the right ingredients for a proper cake. Thankfully, the last page of the story includes a recipe for a standard butter cake. My grandsons and I had fun poring over the pictures and identifying the weird ingredients Harvey puts into his cakes. We also enjoyed the connections to the outdoor world. There are plenty of interesting details to spot in the colourful, slightly retro illustrations (created with stencils and woodblocks). Best for pre-schoolers, both boys and girls.
ISBN 798 1 921720 06 2 RRP $27.99 Hb