I Love Cake!: Starring Rabbit, Porcupine, and Moose
With hilarious bits of dialogue throughout, I Love Cake! is not only a dynamic read-aloud, it works as an inspiration for a short play. Themes of friendship and forgiveness come through on every page—and the birthday theme makes I Love Cake! an excellent choice for a birthday gift!
Sauer and Rozelaar create three characters who are simple and fun and remind readers of the joys and challenges of friendship. Reminiscent of Paul O. Zelinsky’s Z is for Moose and Circle, Square, Moose, Moose is silly, impulsive, and unabashedly himself, and Rabbit and Porcupine accept him for who he is. I would have liked to have seen a less stereotypical portrayal of gender (Rabbit, the bossy character, is a girl; Porcupine and Moose, the fun-loving and rash characters, are boys). An easy change of pronouns (and a redistribution of eyelashes) would have provided a subtle—but important—challenge to the depictions of gender children typically see.
Young children will appreciate the verbal and visual humor, making this a likely choice for repeated readings. Porcupine, for example, keeps getting stuck on different objects such as Rabbit’s present or a tree branch above a trampoline. These details are one of the biggest strengths of the book. That said, I did have a few unresolved questions that I imagine detail-oriented children might bring up. For instance, I wondered why Moose lives in a house with a door too small for him to get out of easily. I also wondered what Porcupine’s present for Rabbit actually was.
On the whole, though, this is an enjoyable book, and I recommend it to young children who love animals, laughing, and, of course, cake!
Bright, engaging illustrations.
A story about friendship and apologizing especially suited for young children.
The illustrations are exuberant and full of motion. The bright colors add to the happy atmosphere of friends playing together, and I liked how each of them got to say something on almost every page. This would be a great feature to have a child in charge of reading. What does Moose say on this page? What does Rabbit say? The story also makes a great springboard for discussion about how important it is to wait for things and to share them with friends.