Reviews for Cooking With Henry and Elliebelly

Booklist Reviews 2010 October #2
Henry, the older of the two sibling chefs, sees himself as the lead of his pretend cooking show; however, it is two-year-old redhead Elliebelly who adds her personal touch by insisting, much to Henry's chagrin, that they both don pirate hats for the show. Although they purport to be concocting "raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles with barbecued banana bacon," it appears that the ingredients put in the mixing bowl are more pretend than anything else. After a complication and a commercial break, the two chefs sample their invisible fare, a concept Elliebelly doesn't grasp. However, before it becomes too much of an issue, Mom--who is offscreen refereeing and apparently cooking--calls them over for real waffles. The appealing cartoon-style illustrations in a bold color palette show Henry and Elliebelly against a white backdrop, so that they, and the few attractive accoutrements that clutter their workspace, really pop out. For stories about other budding chefs, check out Cari Best's Easy as Pie and Liz Rosenberg's Nobody (both 2010). Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
In this paean to imaginative play and cooperation, Henry learns how to share with his little sister while hosting a pretend cooking show; on the menu, "raspberry-marshmallow-peanut-butter waffles with barbecued banana bacon." In Yaccarino's hip, friendly illustrations, subdued primary and secondary colors depict simpler-times, non-electronic childhood favorites including crayons and rubber duckies. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 September #2
Today's showcase recipe is "raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles with barbequed banana bacon," but can a festive cooking show thrive with an opinionated toddler involved? It sure can. Five-year-old Henry stands behind a long dark table, looking straight out at readers. He generously includes his sister in the program's title, but what she really wants to do is direct. Their interactions are hilariously realistic: Henry announces they'll begin by donning chef hats; Elliebelly declares "No chef hat. Pirate hat"; Henry acquiesces that she can wear her pirate hat, but Elliebelly demands that he does too. Mom, offstage, reassures, "Sweetie, she's two. You don't have to do what she says"; readers turn the page to see Henry wearing a pirate hat. Yaccarino uses gorgeously rich gouache colors on creamy flat watercolor paper, deftly composing scenes to portray jubilant chaos that's easy to look at. Shading gives visual depth to chins, bodies and Elliebelly's mop of curls, while eyes and mouths are solid black, working as visual anchors. Resplendently warm and lively with a retro feel. (Picture book. 2-5) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 October #1

When a boy's pretend play as a TV chef collides with a very stubborn little sister (the eponymous Elliebelly, aka Eleanor), it brings new and very funny meaning to the concept of reality television. To begin with, Elliebelly insists that she and her brother wear pirate hats instead of toques (forcing Henry to change the name of the show to "Pirate Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly"), and she adds her doll to the batter for the raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles. "Mom!!!!" appeals Henry to the offstage parent, then opts for a commercial break, holding up a quickly scrawled "We'll be right back" sign. Yaccarino's (Lawn to Lawn) airbrush-styled illustrations, which largely mimic classic TV framing with a counter running across the bottom of several spreads, have a retro-poster boldness that's perfect for this performance-oriented story. He and Parkhurst, making her children's book debut, invigorate the my-sibling-is-driving-me-crazy genre with fresh, laugh-out-loud comedy, while creating a straight man who's admirable for his nimbleness at shifting gears, accommodating unforeseen problems, and maintaining relative equanimity--important traits for a would-be chef. Ages 2-5. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 October

PreS-Gr 2--The conceit of this picture book is a make-believe episode of a kids' cooking program, and the show for the day is "Pirate Cooking with Henry, Elliebelly, and Baby Anne." The featured recipe is "raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles with barbecued banana bacon," and the description is so yummy that readers can almost smell it. Henry is clearly in charge, until two-year-old Elliebelly voices her opinions and concerns (over and over and over again). Her contributions clearly frustrate her brother, and their delightful exchanges add some zest to the production. The entire story is written in dialogue and the sibling relationship is presented with skill; the joys and irritations that the two experience are clear. Mom's off-camera additions ("Work it out, you two") ring as true as the minor spats throughout. While the cooking-show concept may be lost on kids unfamiliar with the medium, the pure adventure of creative play and experimentation will be a treat for any reader. As can be expected, Yaccarino has created characters and an environment that grab readers' attention and won't let go. His interpretation of Elliebelly, with her wild curls, peek-a-boo bellybutton, and ever-present pink butterfly wings, is especially perfect. Parkhurst's carefully chosen dialogue and Yaccarino's deceptively simple art create a delicious delicacy.--Heather Acerro, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN

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