CM Archive
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Rose Robart. Illustrated by Maryann Kovalski.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1986.
unpaged, paperbound boards, $10.95.
ISBN 0-919964-96-6. CIP.

Subject Headings:

Preschool-grade 6 / Ages 3-11

Reviewed by Jane Robinson.

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

The Cake That Mack Ate is writer Rose Robart 's first book for children, but the pattern is immediately recognizable as a variation on the well-known nursery story The House That Jack Built. Humour and simplicity are the distinguishing characteristics of Robart's lighthearted tale. Children will be familiar with the theme and will delight in the abrupt, but predictable ending to both the story and the story's subject, a birthday cake. The cumulative pattern unfolds as the history of the cake is reconstructed from the egg that was used in making it all the way to the candles that decorated it.

The layout of the book reflects the simplicity and balance of the story. Each double-page spread displays one sentence of text on the left with the matching illustration on the right, so that younger children will have no trouble retelling and rereading the story on their own. The full-colour illustrations are rich in information for the reader and the farm setting is charmingly depicted with soft lines and warm colours.

While The Cake That Mack Ate would certainly be enjoyed of and for itself, to appreciate its full value it should be read in conjunction with its counterpart and original, The House That Jack Built. The possibilities for classroom activities springboarding from reading the two books are exciting to consider. And, since children will not tire of the cumulative pattern, at-home reading will only be enhanced by looking at the two books together.


Jane Robinson, Greenway P.S., Winnipeg, MB.
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