Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Donut Chef

Staake, Bob. 2008. The donut chef. New York: Golden Book.

I recognized the jacket art on this book right away as belonging to Bob Staake, illustrator of one of my new favorites, Mary Had a Little Lamp. (I also noticed his signature Adobe PhotoShop style on the new Sputter, Sputter, Sput!, but I didn’t enjoy the story line on that one)

Who would ever think that a picture book about unbridled capitalism, rampant consumerism, and aggressive marketing could be a hit? But it is!

In The Donut Chef, a baker is surprised and threatened by a competitor who opens up shop on the same street.

"Indeed, with two shops on the block,
Both selling donuts round the clock,
Well, people asked - you might have guessed -
'Whose donuts are the very best?''

The fierce competition for customers leads to drastically reduced costs and an explosion of new flavors,

"If one chef dropped his donut cost,
The next would add more chocolate frost!
If one would scram, 'Buy two, get three!'
The other yelled, 'But mine are FREE!'

They made new flavors, quite bizarre,
Like Cherry-Frosted Lemon Bar,
And Peanut-Brickle Buttermilk,
And Gooey Cocoa-Mocha Silk!"

In the end, it takes "little Debbie Sue, a teeny girl, just barely two," to bring the baker and his customers back to their senses!

This book has potential to be used in more ways than one. It's a fun choice for storytime, it's a humorous introduction to the free enterprise system, it's an inspiration to young artists, and it's a testament to the artistic possibilities of a program as simple and readily-available as Adobe PhotoShop.

Here's a sneak preview from Bob Staake -

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