BLOG TOUR w/ GUEST POST: Max Makes a Cake by Michelle Edwards


Baby sisters can be so annoying!

That's what Max thinks. Max needs his daddy's help—right now!—to bake a surprise Passover birthday cake for his mommy. But as baby Trudy fusses instead of napping, and Daddy tries to settle her down, their time to bake is slipping away.

With her warm and pithy storytelling, Michelle Edwards captures the moment in a child's life when he realizes that he has the power to do things on his own.

2010-mje-really-small.gifMichelle Edwards is the author and illustrator of many books for children, one book for adults, and nearly one hundred essays and cards for knitters. Her picture book titles include Chicken Man, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. Michelle lives in Iowa City, Iowa, with her husband, a house full of books, yarn, and the artifacts of their three daughters’ childhoods. Her next picture book, A Hat for Mrs. Goldman, will be published in 2016 by Schwartz and Wade and illustrated by Brian Karas.

“Warmly tinted, wood-textured illustrations fit this gentle, informative book.” Booklist

“Very cute!”  The Hiding Spot

Max Osher was an expert at getting dressed. He could almost tie his shoes. And he knew the Four Questions for Passover in Hebrew and English. The other night, he sang them in both languages at the Passover Seder. All by himself. Without any help. The youngest child is supposed to ask them, but Max’s sister, Trudy, was a baby. She couldn’t even talk yet.

 Max Makes a Cake: Celebrating Everyday Victories
In my newest picture book, Max Makes a Cake, Max does not battle trolls. He does not defend the world against dark and evil forces. He does not even rescue and marry a beautiful princess. At least not in this story.
But Max does make a surprise Passover birthday cake for Mama. All by himself.
Max and Daddy had planned to make the cake from a special cake mix they bought at the supermarket. But before they can get to work, Max must wait patiently for Daddy to settle Trudy, his baby sister, down for her nap. And that afternoon, Trudy won’t settle down.
Waiting, Max grows anxious and worried. Worried and anxious. Hungry, too. So Max concocts a snack. Then he gets a great idea. Soon he’s ready to lead a cake parade to Mama.
There’s no doubt that creating Mama’s birthday cake all by himself is a memorable event for Max and his family. It is the delicious achievement of the day. Perhaps the story of Max making the cake will become a treasured family story. One that Max might tell Trudy when she’s a little older. To inspire her to think creatively, to solve her own problems, and to toddle her way towards independence.
Like young readers, Max’s challenges are in his very own house. In his very own kitchen. His mission that day is to make a surprise birthday cake for his mother.
I have always enjoyed everyday stories. Small stories like Rosemary Wells’s Edward The Unready or Shirley Hughes’s Alfie Gets in First. Stories that capture the challenges and triumphs of childhood. I suspect other adults do too.
Life is not only about the big prizes – winning a gold medal or graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Those milestones may broadcast to the world that we are special. But our day-to-day lives are filled with times when we know we are special. When we surprise ourselves by pushing past what we only had hoped we might be able to do, like tie our own shoes, or learn to read. Or make a Passover birthday cake.
Small stories gives us pause. Pause to remember our everyday victories.

Max Makes a Cake is a cute story about a child taking the initiative when circumstances prevent his father from helping him make a birthday cake for his mother. When Max's father has to take care of the baby while his mother paints, Max tries to wait patiently, but when he gets tired of waiting he decides to go ahead and make something himself. I liked Max's initiative, but I also appreciated the fact that Max doesn't try to use the oven or other appliances by himself, instead he improvises beautifully. The illustrations are pleasing and fun to look at and the Jewish traditions are integrated nicely into the story. 

Next stop on tour: March 14, 2014 From Tots to Teens    review


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