Lulu may only be a little dog, but she has lots of BIG ideas. She also has enthusiasm and buckets of joie de vivre, and lives with a bunch of great friends in Wagtail Town. It’s the day of the school cake competition and Lulu enlists her best buddy, Alfie, to help make what Lulu is convinced will be the winning cake.
But Lulu has not made a cake before and things don’t go quite according to plan. How will Lulu deal with not coming first? What will Lulu learn about herself? Are there really things more important than winning? This doggy tale all about friendship, about not letting disappointment embitter you, and about how we’ve all got different strengths is delightful, witty, and delicious. Lulu and the Best Cake Ever by Emma Chichester Clark is a real joy to read, and read again.
Bubbly Lulu is a gorgeous character. Full of pep and good humour, her happy approach to life is infectious. Children are bound to also enjoy the supporting cast of doggy pals, from Otto (who collects beetles) to Bonnie (aka Miss Messy); there’s a character for everyone to adopt as their favourite.
Wagtail town looks like a cross between a 1950s dream resort and Babar’s Celesteville, a destination with a definite fairy-tale quality, where houses are brightly coloured and unusually shaped, where lawns are beautifully manicured, flower borders abound, and the central public park has gushing fountains, palm trees and a timeless elegance. Although bubblegum and candyfloss colours abound, the book never veers into sentimentality; joy and jokes keep this book on the delightful side of sweetness. Plenty of word play (eg a hairdresser’s called Shampoodles, a clothes’ shop called Peke-a-Boutique and the band, which gets everyone dancing at the end, called The Beagles) and fun details in the illustrations have made this a book I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading and reading again with my kids.
This is the first of a planned series about Wagtail town and I wouldn’t be surprised if an animated version of Wagtail Town is commissioned for TV – I think the cast of characters and fun setting would appeal to a wide audience.
What else could we do, after reading Lulu and the Best Cake Ever, other than attempt to bake our best cake ever? I’ve always been a baker more won over by taste than looks, but I extended myself and made a version of Sweetness and Bite, Wagtail Town’s cake supplies’ and sweetie shop.
I have to say, I’m rather proud of my efforts!
The girls insisted I use some of their plastic dogs for the Wagtail Town Crowd. Here are some of them delivering their cakes to the cake competition.
However nice a cake looks, the best bit always ought to be the eating of it….
… and fortunately it tasted as good as it looked
Yes. Yum Yum.
Whilst baking and decorating and subsequently eating we listened to:
Other than baking cakes, Lulu and the Best Cake Ever might inspire you and your kids to…
Hopefully reading my post today has inspired you to get baking – on Monday I’ll be revealing a big and exciting project here on the blog that involves children’s literature and food and YOU! Probably the biggest, craziest project I’ve ever undertaken here on the blog…!