cover image A Piece of Cake

A Piece of Cake

LeUyen Pham. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-199264-3

Pham tries out a new look for this birthday-themed story—her animal characters would fit right in with J.P. Miller’s The Little Red Hen and other Little Golden Book favorites. While the aesthetic may be proudly retro and the plot trajectory familiar, clever and funny twists subvert expectations every step of the way. The story follows Mouse to Little Bird’s home as he attempts to deliver a homemade birthday cake. Along the way, Mouse meets four animals who want to trade items with him for a slice of cake. Chicken, surrounded by eggs, naturally offers Mouse... a cork. Cow has bottles of milk to spare, but wants to trade... a flyswatter. Pham’s story comes into its own as Mouse and Little Bird return to Mouse’s house and regift each weird item in ingenious ways. Bear needs something to swat away the bees attracted to his honey pots, so Little Bird naturally offers him... the cork, just the thing to trap the bees inside their hive (sorry bees). The value of kindness, quick thinking, and a good attitude shine through. Ages 4–8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (June)