cover image A Cake for Barney

A Cake for Barney

Joyce Dunbar. Orchard Books (NY), $12.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-08335-2

Barney the Bear has a cake with five cherries. He says to himself, ""A fine little cake with five cherries on it will be just delicious.'' And he settles down to eat. But in the next pages, a mouse in a little paper boat, a bird in a tree and three other small creatures each threaten to disturb him unless he pays with a treat. One by one, he gives up his scrumptious treats, consoling himself that a cupcake with four, then three and finally no cherries is still good. Of course, a big bear comes along and says, ``Give me your cupcake.'' Barney at last stands up to blackmail with an overdue, ``No! for this fine little cake with no cherries on it is going going going . . . GONE! And it was just delicious.'' End of story. The implied themethat every little bear has his day to say nois agreeable enough, but the five-step plot of diminishing cherries is predictable and the ending a bit flat. The best age for this one may be the younger side of the target group. Ages 2-7. (March)