"Now, there are two ways to make barbecued banana bacon: You can start with bacon and add bananas, or you can start with bananas and add bacon. It's really up to you. And while that's in the oven, let's check on our waffles. You want them crisp but not crunchy, brown but not black, hot but not cold."
Take one five year old big brother, add one two year old little, spunky sister and mix in many cups of hilarity...that delicious and unique concoction is what you get in this lively new book from a newbie to the children's literature field and an accomplished artist. Oh I forgot, a generous dollop of imagination!
Henry is keen to do a cooking show for TV, and kind enough to let his little sister Eleanor (well, he likes to call her Elliebelly) help him with the recipe. She's cute, but remember....she's two! Things are not likely to go as planned. First things first, a chef's hat doesn't cut it for Elliebelly. She wants a pirate hat.
A series of similar missteps lead to a cooking show disaster. You've seen some of those on TV yourself. The occasional break in filming or a fade-out to commercial allow for some unforseen changes in the script. It's always funny and never tedious. Poor Henry! He just keeps forging forward. Elliebelly is ready for anything, and can't wait to taste the 'raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles with barbecued banana bacon.' Did anyone tell her that it was only PRETEND?
Mom comes to the rescue with a real meal, and the two are off the air...until the next time!
The pairing of Carolyn Parkhurst with Dan Yaccarino is testament to great editing. The author has the language of the siblings down pat. They seem to echo conversations I have heard and create a great back and forth for young readers. The artist fills the pages with recognizable youngsters, with their wide eyes and always open mouths. The body language and expressive faces add fun and familiarity to the text. The bold primary colors and softened edges are perfect. Take a close look at the endpapers...any parent will recognize their lives with young children amongst the images. They are an open invitation for kids to step inside and see what the book has to offer.
I like the design, too. The text in bold black at the top of the page is Henry's script and Elliebelly's is constantly interjected in red. Readers will love the opportunity to read the story in pairs, or even trios (with someone reading Mom's words), using wildly expressive voice to bring the characters to life.