Review: Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watson

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Hardcover, 40 pages
Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books

Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watson is the story of a rude cake. It is the first time I’ve seen a personified cake. A sentient cake and all I wanted to do was take a bite out of it. So this unnamed cake, pink with dark pink frosting is rude. He or she takes stuff from  his or her younger sibling without considering that he is doing wrong. He/She is rude to his/her…the other cakes who hang around him/her, doesn’t say thank you or listen to his/her parents. And then, one night when he/she goes to bed, he/she is abducted by a cyclops who thinks the rude cake is a hat. (!! I just had a thought! I will elaborate later.) During this time as a hat, the cake realizes the importance of manners and all ends well.

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It just occurred to me while I was trying to affix a gender to the cake, that the use of the plural pronoun could very well be the cake’s preference to not be categorized as either a man or a woman. So smart! To use this picturebook to explain how some people prefer to be referred to as “they” or “theirs” rather than he/him/her/she. Brilliant, right? I think so!

Anyway, this book is really tongue-in-cheek and obviously has a moral but it’s not didactic, at least not overtly so. I mean, it does show that having manners is important but not in a way that shoves the moral down your throat. It’s all done very lightly and cheekily. As the excerpts will show, the cakes have an alternate narrative going on separate from the prose, that is, the little dialogues that accompany the illustrations which are cute.

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Parents can obviously use this to show kids the importance of being well-behaved. The appearance of the cyclops was a bit out of the blue but it fit the tone of the story so I didn’t really mind. All in all, a very fun book that I recommend to all parents who wish for cyclopses to come and teach their children manners.