Monday, October 25, 2021

Summertime Pail Tale! Blueberry Cake by Sarah Dillard


Baby Bear and Mama Bear are in the kitchen, and Baby Bear knows just what he wants to eat. But Mama knows what they need to fill that request. She hands Baby Bear a big red bucket.


Baby Bear sets off and makes his way through the woods until he finds a big field of blueberry bushes and fills his red pail with the juicy fruit, only to find the big juicy blueberries are just too tempting. He eats all he can hold and then jumps up to chase a butterfly, spilling the rest of the berries.

Baby Bear tries to placate Mama Bear by filling the pail with fresh-picked flowers, heading back home, and is seemingly surprised and sad that there are no berries in his bucket. At the door Mama Bear gives him THE LOOK--



Sadly Baby Bear goes to bed cake-less, but when he wakes up at dawn, he knows just what to do to get his blueberry cake. And when Mama Bear comes down to the kitchen, there is the red pail, full to the brink with blueberries. And SOON, there is...


Sarah Dillard's brand-new Blueberry Cake (Aladdin Books, 2021) provides a tasteful story with minimalist text and skillfully drawn illustrations that tell the story sweetly for preschoolers and early readers, but with a premise as old as human hunter-gatherers.

The interplay between mother and child is deliciously told with simple lines and facial expressions by author-illustrator Dillard, whose endearing afterword describes happy childhood visits to her grandmother's Maine coast kitchen where blueberry cake was also on the menu. This one is perfect for sharing with preschoolers and primary readers alike. Adds Booklist, "Dillard’s latest picture book shows how much can be done with a limited number of words (blueberry, blueberries, cake, flowers, oh, no, and applesauce), a period, a question mark, and an exclamation point.

For fruitful fall reads, share this one with Robert McClosky's classic, Blueberries for Sal, and taking the hint from Baby Bear's closing request for applesauce, with Gail Gibbons' evergreen The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree.

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