cover image Bun, Onion, Burger

Bun, Onion, Burger

Peter Mandel, illus. by Chris Eliopoulos, S&S, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-2466-1

Despite its all-American flair, amusing title, and attractive cover, this paper over board picture book is disappointingly thin and never as celebratory as the cookouts it celebrates. Mandel’s (Planes at the Airport) simple, rhymed text contains only a few words per page, which describe the grilling and assembling of hamburgers: “Bun... onion... burger... for one./ Raw... rare... medium... well-done.” The cartoon illustrations provide what little plot there is, as a boy and his dog help make dinner. The dog excitedly participates in every step of the process, but, in the story’s only moment of something resembling tension, he’s frustrated not to get a burger of his own—a problem that’s quickly solved when the boy’s father grills up “another... one... for you!” There is no shortage of color or energy in newcomer Eliopoulos’s watercolors, yet they feel flat. At times, they are simply difficult to decipher (the grilled onions look more like miniature striped inner tubes) and the characters’ smiles are as cookie-cutter as the rest of their personalities—there’s no real character development or differentiation. Ages 2–6. (June)