Apr 5, 2013

Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity

Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Monica Kulling

Illustrated by: Esperan├ža Melo

Published by: Tundra Books

Published on: March 12, 2013

Ages: 3+

Provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

As a nonfiction picture book afficianado, I am familiar with Monica Kulling's work in spreading knowledge about historical figures through such books as Lumpito and the Painter from Spain and
Going Up! Elisha Otis's Trip to the Top. Kulling has a knack for narrowing in on little known stories and relaying them with great flair.

So what a pleasure it is to get to read a fiction book from Ms. Kulling, where she is unconstrained by history and has the breadth of her imagination to fuel her story.

Like in Lumpito, the protagonist is an adorable dog. But this dog does it all, deliveries, cooking, and general support for Madame Croissant, who is anxious to put her cupcakes on the map. All is going well for this pair until the arrival of Daphne, Madame Croissant's niece. Daphne wants to do everything but doesn't quite have the skills of either Mister Dash or the baker. It's a struggle for both Daphne to find something she can do to be helpful and for Mister Dash to find his niche after he has his plans interrupted by Daphne.

The best thing about this book is that kids can cheer for either the organized Mister Dash or the lively Daphne. Each of my kids identified with a different character. An older sibling or friend who has their space invaded by a visitor, no matter how much they like them, can feel for Mister Dash. Whereas the child who doesn't really have as much practice as their older counterparts but wants to be constructive.

I love how organically Kulling includes French phrases throughout the book, great for an introduction to this lovely language. I can't wait to read the first book in this series, Merci Mister Dash, as well as to bake with my kids who are keen to try to make both croissants and cupcakes now, even if they won't be delivered by such an adorable creature!

This would be great to pair with The French Fry King, about another canine culinary wonder.

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