Review Blog

Nov 05 2012

A Great Cake by Tina Matthews

cover image Walker Books, 2012. ISBN: 9781921720062.
When Harvey wants to bake a cake, he doesn't have all of the ingredients. Nonetheless, he manages to make some amazing cakes from some very interesting alternatives instead. Together with his mother and baby sibling, they take the finished products to some different audiences, visiting the snails, lizards and butterflies in the garden. Finally, when Harvey's Dad announces that they do have the correct ingredients, they go to find a different group with whom to share the finished product instead.
This is a joyful story of childhood, imagination, acceptance and family. Although I don't personally love the style of the illustrations, they nonetheless support and match the text. Harvey's house is not presented as a show piece, but instead echoes the warmth of the family and the acceptance of the young boy's ideas and imagination. Probably what did appeal most to me about the book is that it was like holding up a mirror to my own childhood. I was given similar freedom to make my own mud pies topped with paddy melon seeds and some were even baked in an old oven! As with Harvey, I also had opportunities to learn to bake at my grandmother's side, able to concoct my own recipes as well.
This would be a wonderful book to share with pre-school children or those in the early years and could happily culminate in baking and sharing the recipe found on the final page. I can imagine grandparents with time on their hands indulging their grandchildren as mine did with me, using this book as a model.
Jo Schenkel

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