cover image A Pie Went by

A Pie Went by

Carolyn Dunn. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-028807-5

In Dunn's catchy debut, a passing dessert attracts a parade of hungry critters. The oversize cherry pie sits out of reach, under the golden crown of King Bing. It's intended for the king's beloved Queen Bea, to whom he plans to propose, but a spotted cow, gray dog and yellow chick would prefer to eat it themselves. Dunn casts King Bing as a kind of straight man as, one by one, the animals try to trick him into dropping the treat ("" `Play leapfrog?' asked the dog""). Dunn writes lively, cadenced prose and builds anticipation with repetitive phrases. Multiple voices, including that of a frantic fly who urges reluctant Queen Bea to try the pie, join in a kind of Greek chorus, lending the story lots of read-aloud potential. She promises to say ""I do"" as long as the king does the cooking and she does the eating. Santoro's (King Bob's New Clothes) comical gouaches of the eager, lip-smacking cow and grouchy hound create a slapstick mood; the pie is bound to go splat sooner or later. Thought-bubbles show that the characters have food, not the king's romance, on their minds. While readers enjoy the book, ""King Bing's Easy Cherry Pie"" (recipe provided) can be baking in the oven. Ages 3-6. (May)