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Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough

This picture book is a laugh-out-loud delight. Marigold the cat is a finicky perfectionist who loves to bake. Mondays are his days for baking and he can’t tolerate any interruptions while he is perfecting his culinary creations. But this Monday, he keeps getting interrupted by birds coming through the window – first a finch, then a pair of pigeons, then a trio of loons. With little patience, Marigold shoos the birds away, getting a bit more undone each time, until he loses his temper with the loons and a madcap chase around the kitchen ensues, resulting in a total mess and his cake in ruins. He decides to go for a walk to cool down. While he is out, the enthusiastic birds do their best to bake a cake. The results are less than stellar, but a calmed-down Marigold appreciates the effort and the chef in him is challenged to teach the birds how to bake. In the comic ending, his efforts are a total failure, but the birds sure had fun!

The text is filled with colorful language, including fun alliteration, rhymes at each new interruption, and clever use of adjectives and adverbs, and the action-packed watercolor illustrations full of humorous details add to the fun and zaniness of the text. I liked that there wasn’t a perfect ending with the birds learning how to bake from the master chef – sometimes in real life things don’t work out and this lesson is taught in a very funny way.

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