Spring Cakes  – Miranda Harmon

Spring Cakes  – Miranda Harmon.  Holiday House, 2021. 9780823447534

Format: Hardcover early reader comics

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

 What did you like about the book?  On the first day of spring, three kitten siblings (Cinnamon, Ginger, and Nutmeg) are excited to be sent out to gather five ingredients for their mother’s famous magical spring cakes.  Their quest goes pretty smoothly at first – their neighbors gladly part with flour, eggs, and honey – but when they need to collect strawberries from the meadow, they are accosted by a purple bear who, at first, is reluctant to share.  When the bear learns what the berries are for, a barter is arranged and the kittens are on their way again – now to get some magical roses from a witch.  Wide-eyed, they bravely head through the haunted woods to the witch’s cottage, only to find that the witch, an old friend of their mother, is expecting them and offers them tea before sending them off with roses.  Once safely home, they help their mom bake the cupcakes, bicker a bit over how to decorate them, and then head out for a picnic to share spring cakes with all the neighbors they met during their adventure.

This sweet, mild tale has just the right amount of adventure for young readers; scary moments are quickly resolved, as is the kittens’ disagreement about icing.  The comic book panels are easy to follow, and vocabulary is pretty simple, and repetitive, other than some baking terminology.  A bright and cozy color scheme and extremely cute cartoon characters will definitely attract readers, as will the positive messages about teamwork and helpfulness.  

Anything you did not like about the book?  no

 To whom would you recommend this book? Primary grade students who are always looking for cute cat stories will definitely appreciate this; and young comic book fans will like it well enough, despite its lack of slapstick humor or real excitement.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Early readers/early comics

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  no

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: 7/8/2021

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