Archive | June 8, 2017

How to Bake a Book

Cover

Written and Illustrated by Ella Burfoot

Sourcebooks, 2014

I am going to bake a book!

The girl who narrates this book starts out by breaking some ideas into a cup and then mixing them. She chooses the right words and cuts out some interesting characters. She adds feelings, colors and pictures to add flavor and stirs it all up. After it’s left to sit for a while, she rolls it out and puts it in a pan so the characters can jump in. She fills it with action and adds some good and some bad, which makes the plot thicken. She adds punctuation and presses the ending into place, then glazes it with happiness. When it’s baked, she cuts a piece and sees that she’s baked a delicious book.

Cake

I’ll just take a very small slice, like a page or two.

As a home baker, I love author/illustrator Ella Burfoot’s concept of using baking as a metaphor for creating a story. The parallels really work here and the text is told in a bouncy and playful rhyme scheme that adds to the comic appeal of the story’s presentation. I imagine that lots of kids reading this book are immediately inspired to try writing a story of their own. Or maybe to bake cookies, but either way, that’s a good thing, right?

The mixed media illustrations offer lots of little details, including example words and other story ingredients, and they really help to clarify the different elements of storytelling. It’s a little frenetic in places, but even that fits the story. The visual representation of the final product as a book/pie hybrid shows a sky full of stars, which symbolizes the infinite possibilities inside a book.

And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that it takes a lot of different components to make a good story and when they are mixed just right, the results are always satisfying.

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