Could you bake … a wintercake?

It’s time for another periodic installment of “Picture Books I Want to Hug.”

These are books I love so much that I simply want to read them. And hug them. And re-read them. And re-hug them.

Re-lentlessly.

Re-peatedly.

Re-ally.

The last book that inspired this feeling in me — and a blog post from me — was A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS by Julie Fogliano and Lane Smith. And, I stand by everything I wrote about that beautiful book.

And now, I have another huggable book to add to my list. This one is WINTERCAKE, written and illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins and published by Greenwillow Books.

This book has so many things to gush about.

I’ve been thinking about how to structure this post, but all I really want to do is gush about random, disconnected parts of the book that impressed me, so I think that’s what I’ll do.

Brace yourself. This is going to be a long list:

  • The language. Well, it’s divine. It has a slightly old-fashioned, British feel to it. (One character greets another by saying: “Lovely day, what?”) And, Perkins isn’t afraid to use words that kids may not be familiar with like “bereft,” “bluster,” “buoyant” and “resilient.”
  • The humor. This is not a rib-tickling, knee-slapping kind of book. The humor is subtle and understated. As two friends go on a journey to find and thank a neighbor whose intentions they misjudged, they encounter several obstacles. As they navigate them, there are asides like: “I am stout, but nimble. ” “I am buoyant, but only for a while.” “Our friend must be an agile fellow. He certainly is slender.”
  • The warmth. There’s a lot of warmth in this wintery story. First, there’s the friendship between the two main characters. Then, there’s the worry when one misplaces a basket of dried fruit used to make wintercake. Then, there’s the common problem of judging someone without knowing all the facts, the universalness of loneliness, the hope we can all be our best selves and the promise of a new friendship.
  • Again with the language. Did I say it’s divine? The story is undoubtedly long for a picture book, with more adjectives and adverbs than you’d normally see. But everything about this story is so beautiful and lush and perfect that it matters not a whit.
  • The inclusivity. Anyone who celebrates any winter holiday — or none at all — can read this book and benefit from it. Making wintercake on Winter’s Eve is a charming way to invite all readers in.
  • The cake. When I first finished the book, I was slightly saddened to see that there was no recipe for wintercake. But then, I looked under the dust jacket. There, on the back cover, were full instructions about how to make your very own wintercake — with some delightful touches of humor mixed into the batter.
  • The poem. The book doesn’t rhyme. But the dust jacket has a lovely poem that sums up the story. It says, in part: “I took a wrong turn. I barked up the wrong tree, went out on a limb, there was nothing to see. I made a mistake, I was not even warm, I missed all the boats, I got lost in the storm. I jumped to conclusions, I misunderstood. You knocked on my door and now everything’s good.”

As I said, that is quite a list of things to love. And, I could keep going, believe you me. But, I hope you will acquire your own copy of WINTERCAKE, read it, admire it, hug it, and then make your own list of all the ways it is divine.

22 Comments:

  1. Sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing, Pat.

  2. This looks lovely, Pat. Definitely adding it to my reading list!

  3. So glad you shared this! I also just added this to my TBR list! Looking forward to it!

  4. Looking forward to reading it Pat. Thanks for the great post.

  5. Pat, you always have exquisite taste. This book was not only radar, but now it is. A book to truly love is a gift – right now I feel that way about RABBIT AND THE MOTORBIKE. TY for this new book suggestion. The happiest of Thanksgivings to you and your family.

  6. Thank you for introducing me to WINTERCAKE. I’m pleased to read Lynne Rae Perkins uses words that kids may not be familiar with.

    I requested the book from our library and look forward to reading all about the lovely language.

  7. Pat, I would trust your recommendations any day! This book intrigues me because I’ve never heard of something like a winter cake! So, I’ll check this one out for sure! Kudos to Lynne Rae Perkins for such a fun cover!

  8. I read this at the library yesterday. It was just as you said, Pat…divine. Thank you for sharing all the things you loved about WINTERCAKE!

  9. I love children’s books featured around food and recipes. Are you going to make winter cake?

  10. thanks for sharing, Pat! I will look for wintercake.

  11. Oh this looks perfect for a family I know with lots of girls who love beautiful language and baking and reading. Thank you.

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    Jennifer Lane Wilson

    Thanks for the recommendation! Sounds charming, like a certain British baking show 🙂

  13. Sounds wonderful – can’t wait to check it out! Thanks Pat!

  14. This sounds wonderful and delicious and cozy all wrapped up in one! I can’t wait to track it down! Congrats.

  15. This sounds perfectly lovely!

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    Judith Wright Aplin

    Sounds lovely:) I want to make a winter cake……..inspiration certainly in this book!

  17. I’m off to find myself a copy of this delicious book!

  18. A timely multilayered book. I have it on hold at the library. Cannot wait to read. Thank you Pat.

  19. Wonderful! I want to read this. Thank you!

  20. I already had this one on my to-read list, but after reading your comments I put in my library hold request now.

  21. Ah, this does sound huggable. Just reserved it at the library. Thanks, Pat!

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