Monday, August 26, 2019

Review - The Perfect Birthday Recipe

The Perfect Birthday Recipe
by Katy Hudson
Date: 2020
Publisher: Capstone Editions
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Summer birthdays can be lonely, but not when you have great friends like Beavers! This year Tortoise, Bird, Rabbit, and Squirrel insist on baking Beaver's birthday cake, but Beaver isn't so sure. He is the ultimate perfectionist and would rather do it himself, following the recipe exactly. Will Beaver's nitpicky ways ruin his birthday and his friendships? The Perfect Birthday Recipe is the fourth and final story in Katy Hudson's best-selling set of seasonal picture books, including Too Many Carrots, A Loud Winter's Nap, and The Golden Acorn.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I didn't realize this was the fourth book in a series, probably because you don't need to have read any of the other books to get something out of this one. The Perfect Birthday Recipe is a story about perfectionism, control, and friendship, cast with cute critters and one very special birthday cake.

When it's time for Beaver's birthday, he's got his perfect cake already planned out. But his friends want to help, and soon the cake is bursting with flavours that Beaver never expected. The cake is a bit of a disaster, and rather than be grateful for the thoughtfulness of his friends, Beaver is annoyed. He sets out to make another cake--his way--and finally finishes in the middle of the night... at which point there's nobody around to share it with. He comes to realize that maybe friendship is more important than the perfect birthday cake.

I'm having trouble deciding how to review this. The message is great. The illustrations are adorable. But the writing leaves something to be desired. The punctuation needs some work, and the unwieldy dialogue tags kept pulling me out of the flow of the story. (Seriously, how does someone "clap" their words?) Most of the issues with the text would be easily fixable, as they're to do with the technical aspects of the writing and not the story itself.

I definitely want to see some of the author's other work now; her illustrations are very cute. But I'm just not all that impressed by the writing in this book... so I guess my rating is going to have to be somewhere in the middle.

Thank you to NetGalley and Capstone Editions for providing a digital ARC.

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

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.17 out of 5

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