cover image Just the Right Cake

Just the Right Cake

Christina Tosi, illus. by Emily Balsley. Rocky Pond, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-5931-1071-3

Offering a new recipe for moving forward, Milk Bar creator Tosi centers a child navigating his parents’ divorce in this picture book about finding one’s own bake. For Phil, who’s portrayed with tan skin, “every day was a perfect day to bake a cake.” Used to baking with both of his parents, he finds that something is missing when he makes his favorite double chocolate cake with just his mom, depicted with brown skin. He tries again at his white-presenting dad’s new apartment, and still, “the cake wasn’t the same.” When he tells a friend what happened, she theorizes, “Every cake has a story. And sometimes stories change.” In searching for a “new story to tell,” one that’s focused on his family’s favorite flavors, and his own, Phil takes a mature, positive step forward that helps ready him “to see where his story would take him next.” Via bake-shop-bright colors and round shapes, Balsley’s crisp gouache and ink illustrations amplify the book’s optimistic theme. Phil’s cake recipe concludes. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)