Reviews for Apple Cake : A Recipe for Love

Booklist Reviews 2012 September #1
When the typical romantic gestures of flowers and music fail to capture bookish Ida's attention, her resourceful suitor, Alfonso, takes a different approach--her appetite. He mixes up a one-of-a-kind apple confection, collecting butter from the sun, sugar from the clouds, and salt from the sea. After adding in a sprinkle of wishes--one bitter and two sweet--for just the right balance, Alfonso then throws himself, literally, into mixing the batter and baking his wondrous cake. Its delicious aroma coaxes Ida to finally put down her book and take notice of not just the delectable dessert in front of her but its baker, too. Author-illustrator Paschkis makes a departure from her distinct, jewel-toned style here, presenting the simple story in minimal text and airy, delicate folk art-like tableaux set against generous white space. The fine detail in the fantastical gouache-and-ink scenes demands close-up viewing--and possibly a post-storytime treat. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
"Beautiful, kind, brilliant Ida... always kept her nose in a book," and despite his attempts, poor Alfonso cannot get her attention. Finally, he gathers ingredients for an apple cake (including three wishes), and the finished product prompts Ida to stop reading, smile, and eat it up. The simple story line is unfortunately lackluster; the soft, whimsical ink and gouache illustrations take the cake.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 July #2
Alphonse lures Ida away from her book by making a cake for her. "Beautiful, kind, brilliant Ida… / always had her nose in a book." So begins this lighthearted and airy tribute to the powers of love and persistence. Alphonse tries to be interesting, but he is unable to get Ida's attention. He presents her with bouquets and butterflies and serenades her with guitar music, but still her eyes never leave the pages. He makes a cake, which turns into quite a production indeed. Paschkis takes a marvelous detour from her familiar style here. The pages are open, filled with white space and almost translucent gouache colors. Readers see Alphonse going to the ends of the earth for the ingredients: riding a horse up a mountain for apples, harvesting butter from the sun and sugar from clouds, climbing a tree to grab an egg from a nest, spooning salt from the sea and catching flour and baking powder from the sky. If all this weren't enough to prove his love, Alphonse dives into the bowl himself to stir the cake! The smell of the cake baking eventually gets Ida's attention, releasing a flood of butterflies and sunshine onto the final pages. Sweethearts of any age will celebrate the joy of love and shared simple pleasures. (Picture book. 4 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 July #3

Paschkis's whimsical love story tells of lovelorn Alfonso, a beak-nosed man in a top hat and coattails, who cannot get bookworm Ida to pay attention to him. "So he decided to bake her a cake." The recipe may sound ordinary enough, but Paschkis's delicate gouache-and-ink paintings demonstrate that Alfonso's efforts are entirely extraordinary. When the text announces that "he beat two tablespoons of butter with a cup of sugar," Paschkis shows Alfonso hanging from a beam of butter-yellow sun, while butter drips from another triangular ray, and scooping sugar from a pale, puffy cloud. He finds an egg high atop a fanciful tree, ladles "a tiny bit of salt" from the sea, and stirs in three wishes: "one bitter and two sweet." Painting on white backdrops, Paschkis (Mooshka, a Quilt Story) offers a lovely, pared-down aesthetic, compared to her heavily patterned earlier books, which emphasizes the loose, sweeping quality of her painting. The result is a story that exudes a pervasive sense of magic and underscores how far one gladly will go in the name of love. Ages 4-8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 July

K-Gr 2--Her nose constantly in a book, Alfonso's beloved Ida is blind to all his attempts to woo her. He lavishes brilliant bouquets of flowers on her and serenades her, but "Ida never looked up." So he goes to great lengths to bake her an apple cake: squeezing butter from the sun, obtaining sugar from the clouds, plucking an egg from a nest atop a tall tree, even sailing the ocean for some salt. At last, the smell of Alfonso's cake prompts her to look up, smile, and eat it with him. Paschkis's small gouache and ink folk figures appear on large expanses of white space, and her familiar patterns are adorned with butterflies, flowers, and domed minarets. Although the text is minimal, the illustrations reveal that this suitor does nothing by half measures. "First he took three apples" shows Alfonso seeking the fruit from a tree at the very top of a mountain. In a page turn, readers see him slicing apples with a sword. "He sifted in a cup of flour" accompanies an image of Alfonso on top of a minaret collecting flour from the evening sky. This story is a celebration of the imagination and should spark discussions about solving problems creatively.--Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT

[Page 62]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.