Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly by Carolyn Parkhurst, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, is an immersive tale of a boy just trying to play chef…while being interrupted by his little sister.
Henry includes his two-year-old sister Ellie in a game of “cooking show,” and over the course of the story they explain how to create raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles. The humor is sophisticated, with amusing responses to Ellie’s antics that ring true to life.
The book uses smaller black text to denote the older boy’s dialogue, and adds a second narrator when larger red text with exclamation points communicates Ellie’s dialogue. It is easy to tell that Ellie is louder than her older brother, and a bit of a mess- always suggesting absurdities that get her into a little trouble. The words on the page straight across the top work well within the “cooking show” style, perfectly countering the illustrations on a table or a plane across the bottom of the spread.
Henry’s direct address of the reader with acknowledgements like “Next you have to count how many…” and “We’ll be right back” scrawled across the paper he holds up add so much life to the story. Each page includes hilarious illustrations of various animals, dolls, toys, and odd foods which get involved, and the “commercial” included was especially enjoyable. This is a strong story of innocent sibling frustration that is sure to make young children giggle.
Post by Sophia Denney