Review by Booklist Review
"On Grandma's birthday, she makes this pronouncement: Now listen up, / don't make a fuss, you hear? / Land sakes! I swear your cakes are / getting bigger every year. But Grandpa has an itchin' . . . to traumatize the kitchen and a vision too big to be contained by spousal directives, kitchen, pan, or oven. Writing in bouncy verses, the author of Bear Snores On (2003) and others chronicles the ensuing, supersize baking project as Grandpa swaps spoon for oar and blends his batter in a pickup truck. The story isn't as layered as its enormous, sun-baked dessert, but the tall-tale premise provides lots of grist for Hillenbrand's oversize paintings, which capture the messy, experimental energy of a baker gone berserk and cast everything in a decorator's sugary hues. A closing message about cleanup is well placed, especially given the impetus to traumatize the kitchen provided by the appended recipe for a normal-size chocolate cake, alas."--"Mattson, Jennifer" Copyright 2007 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Wilson (Bear Snores On) and Hillenbrand (Smash! Mash! Crash! There Goes the Trash!) cook up a sweet and jaunty picture book. Their protagonist, Granddad, falls in the bigger-is-better camp, at least when it comes to his wife's birthday celebration. Despite her protestations ("Don't make a fuss, you hear?"), Granddad has an itching to whip up one heck of a confection in her honor. With two canine sous chefs, Granddad gets to super-sizing a chocolate cake recipe that ends up baking in the pick-up truck bed rather than in the tiny conventional oven. Kids will delight in Wilson's bouncy rhyming stanzas flavored with down-home vernacular and the slapdash slinging and flinging of eggs (86), flour (10 bags) and cocoa (24 cups) by Granddad and pups in playfully energetic mixed-media spreads. No one can argue with Granddad's defense to his astonished birthday gal: "Your heart's so big, you deserve a whopper cake!" A chocolate cake recipe (of realistic proportions), with directions in the couple's dialect, is included. Ages 4-8. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2-Wilson's goofy rhymes and enthusiasm for things big and beautiful were previously experienced through the fancy footwork of a hippopotamus in Hilda Must Be Dancing (S & S, 2004). Here, the author successfully applies the same elements to describe how Grandpa concocts a "whopper chocolate cake" for Grandma's birthday. The scope of his love requires that he use a pickup truck for a bowl, an oar to stir the ingredients, and an army of neighbors bearing shovels to spread the icing. With a technique mirroring Jackson Pollock's approach to a drip painting, the crew creates a mouthwatering masterpiece. Rendered in ink and egg tempera, Hillenbrand's illustrations spill off the spreads. The artwork is further enlivened by the texture offered by the canvas surface and the depth created by the contrasting of full-color foreground paintings with sepia background sketches. Full-bodied figures decked out in '70s paisleys and prints, a flower-powered VW driven by the matriarch, and high-energy compositions make this a surefire crowd pleaser. The programming possibilities are numerous; this title will easily mix with books on birthdays, grandparents, tall tales, or cooking, to name a few. Chocolate cake aficionados should be sure to follow the appended recipe, not the one invented by Grandpa!-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Written in verse, Wilson's original, folksy tall tale is given an industrial-strength boost from Hillenbrand's big, exuberant artwork. It's Grandma's birthday, and Grandpa (who looks remarkably like Eric Carle) wants to bake a cake. Not just any cake--a whopper cake. When a table-sized bowl proves too small for the enormous amounts of sugar and flour, Grandpa transfers the mixture to the bed of his pick-up truck, stirs in more ingredients with an oar, and then drives to town with his trusted canine assistants. In one visual slip, the ice cream Grandpa gets for the top of the cake--now the size of a small house--is missing from the pictures. Opening with birthday balloons and splattered chocolate batter, Hillenbrand combines candy-colored egg tempura paintings with sepia-toned line drawings in jaunty double-page spreads. Judiciously sprinkled with patterns, the compositions are full but never busy. The language of the recipe for a junior-sized version of the dessert is a bit corny, but after engaging with the tale's good-humored action, kids will be watering at the mouth. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.