cover image Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly

Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly

Carolyn Parkhurst, illus. by Dan Yaccarino, Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-312-54848-3

When a boy's pretend play as a TV chef collides with a very stubborn little sister (the eponymous Elliebelly, aka Eleanor), it brings new and very funny meaning to the concept of reality television. To begin with, Elliebelly insists that she and her brother wear pirate hats instead of toques (forcing Henry to change the name of the show to "Pirate Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly"), and she adds her doll to the batter for the raspberry–marshmallow–peanut butter waffles. "Mom!!!!" appeals Henry to the offstage parent, then opts for a commercial break, holding up a quickly scrawled "We'll be right back" sign. Yaccarino's (Lawn to Lawn) airbrush-styled illustrations, which largely mimic classic TV framing with a counter running across the bottom of several spreads, have a retro-poster boldness that's perfect for this performance-oriented story. He and Parkhurst, making her children's book debut, invigorate the my-sibling-is-driving-me-crazy genre with fresh, laugh-out-loud comedy, while creating a straight man who's admirable for his nimbleness at shifting gears, accommodating unforeseen problems, and maintaining relative equanimity—important traits for a would-be chef. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)