From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1–This tasty love story is told by an African-American boy who shares his love for his grandfather and lemon cake. It captures a sweet memory of a child baking with his elderly relative and the wonder and love that go into the recipe. The rhyming text seems forced at times and is somewhat uneven, e.g., Sniff sniff the lemon whiff/Peel peel I love the lemon feel/Pish pish the lemon till it's squished. However, the mood is cheery, the temperature is toasty, and the illustrations keep the story moving along until the cake is done. Johnson's art swirls from page to page, using humor and changing perspective to add spark and sparkle to the story. This book would be a good choice for teaching young children about onomatopoeia and for discussing extended families and gender roles.–Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
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PreS-K. An African American grandfather, Pop Pop, and his grandson transform baking a lemon cake into a magical mystery tour of sound and rhythm: "Sniff sniff the lemon whiff / Peel peel I love the lemon feel." Warm, soft, stylized watercolors add a surreal element to the lively story, especially as fish-eye perspectives sweep the pages and boy and grandfather sometimes shrink down to measuring-cup size. The inevitable messes and cleanup of any kitchen project are faithfully recorded: "Blat blat goes the batter I splat / Swipe swipe the counter I wipe." The inventive wordplay is quirky ("sizzle sizzle the butter frizzles"), but it somehow makes sense that sprinkled salt would twinkle or that whisks would twisk. The closing recipe for lemon cake is unfortunately missing the delicious-looking frosting and the layering instructions that would be required to replicate the cake pictured here. Nonetheless, this is an affectionate, energetic paean to a cross-generational dynamic duo. Karin SnelsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved