Allison's Book Bag

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells

Posted on: October 15, 2014

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells is a sweet and entertaining entry in the Max and Ruby series. In this simple story for young readers, Ruby attempts to bake a cake and Max tries to shop for the needed ingredients. Brimming with color and humor, everything about Bunny Cakes will satisfy your funny bone.

What I appreciated most about Bunny Cakes is its light-hearted tone. It’s Grandma’s birthday and Ruby wants to surprise her with an angel cake. As younger siblings will, Max both wants and tries to help. But instead he makes things worse. The humor of course lays in how Wells handles the treatment of the story. Ruby tells Max, “Don’t touch anything.” We never see Ruby get mad. Nor do we even see Max respond. What we see instead is a picture of Max with eggs smashed in front of his feet. And we read the words, “But it was too late. Ruby sent Max to the store with a list….” And so the story goes. Ruby says, “Don’t bump the table.” Instantly the milk carton falls over. Ruby says, “Don’t cross the yellow line.” But the flour bag still tumbles.

I also enjoyed the amicable persistence of Max. The earthworm cake which he created for Grandma lacks only one ingredient, that of Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters. Each time, Max returns to the grocer on an errand for Ruby, he also tries to convey his own ingredient request. The problem is Ruby can print neatly and spell but Max has yet to learn those skills. And so the grocer can’t read what Max has written. That doesn’t stop Max from trying though and he tries in multiple different ways to write “Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters”. Anyone who has tried to help young children will feel empathetic for Max as he attempts his most beautiful handwriting … but still fails. Finally, Max has a brand new idea. Max is the epitome of the expression: NEVER GIVE UP!


Finally, I would be remiss if I were to review a picture book and not comment on its artwork. Foremost, the cartoonish drawings are bright and cute. With her blend of ink and watercolor, Wells creates a cheery and cozy world. What I most admire is the interplay between pared-down text and eventful illustrations. As I noted above, one never sees a picture of Ruby getting mad or Max getting dejected. Instead we see a picture of a kitchen with a yellow line across it and another with a flour bag turned upside down. Readers of all ages will be able to appreciate this story, which can be as easily understood with or without the text.

When my brother and sister were themselves still barely of reading age, they introduced me to the playful and innocent world of Max and Ruby. Here, I wish to extend my gratitude to them. Because of their influence, I met Rosemary Wells and treated myself to a copy of her joyful and universal story of sibling relations.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

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