cover image Max Makes a Cake

Max Makes a Cake

Michelle Edwards, illus. by Charles Santoso. Random, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-449-81431-4

It’s Mom’s birthday, so she has to have a cake. But Dad has baby duty, and it’s looking less and less likely that he and son Max will be able to make the kosher-for-Passover cake mix they bought at the supermarket. Unable to wait any longer, Max invents a chametz-free cake that’s “different from all other cakes” and well within the grasp of any young, aspiring chef: a stack of matzo that uses jam-sweetened cream cheese for frosting and filling. In his first book for children, illustrator/concept artist Santoso astutely renders Max’s journey from itchy exasperation to triumphant ingenuity, while Edwards (Room for the Baby) makes some nice parallels between his impatience and the “hurry, hurry, hurry” that characterized the ancient Israelites’ flight from Egypt. The ending is ripe for replication. Ages 3–7. Illustrator’s agent: Shannon Associates. (Jan.)