Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review - Apple Cake: A Gratitude

Apple Cake: A Gratitude
by Dawn Casey
illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
Date: 2019
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Thank you, hedge, / Thank you, tree. / Thank you, flower, / Thank you, bee. / Thank you, rain, / Thank you, sun. / Thank you, farmers, / every one.

In this simple rhyming story from the author of Held in Love, a child says thank you for the gifts nature provides, from hazelnuts in the hedge to apples from the tree, eggs from the hens to milk from the cow. Eventually, the family has enough ingredients to make something special…a delicious apple cake!

With captivating illustrations that brim with emotion, this sweet picture book encourages children to be grateful for the world around them—the perfect read for Thanksgiving. A recipe for apple cake at the end allows you and your child to share in the joyful gratitude.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Apple Cake is a sweet rhyming picture book in which a child expresses gratitude for all of the people and things that go into making a tasty dessert. Beautiful illustrations highlight the gentle rhyming text, which actually has very nice rhythm. But there's one thing that really bothers me about the book, and it kind of irked me enough to affect my enjoyment. And that one thing is the grammar.

The way the verse is written out in the synopsis is not the way it's written out in the book. The book's text is full of comma splices and run-on sentences. It drove me nuts, because it could have been so easily fixed. Instead of

Thank you, hedge,
thank you, tree.

Thank you, flower,
thank you, bee.

it could've read

Thank you, hedge.
Thank you, tree.

Thank you, flower.
Thank you, bee.

and if it had read that way, I probably would've enjoyed this one a lot more. Nobody's going to notice these issues when the book is read aloud, but I still hate to see messed-up grammar in children's books.

There's a recipe at the end for apple cake, complete with a convoluted method for letting kids help cut the apples (which I would recommend skipping if you want to get the cake made before midnight). I never know what to think about recipes included in children's books. Do they really turn out? I have no idea (and since this one calls for eggs, this vegan's not about to try it). Still, having a recipe might be a plus for some people.

The overall message of gratitude is lovely. Paired with the cute illustrations, it's almost enough to make this book one I would wholeheartedly recommend. This is the second rhyming picture book I've read recently that takes liberties with grammar. That's just something I can't get behind; children are still in the process of learning language, and getting artsy will only serve to confuse them.

Thank you to NetGalley and Frances Lincoln Children's Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: 5/5
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.43 out of 5

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