Friday, April 15, 2016

Rude Cakes (Rowboat Watkins)

Title Rude Cakes

Author:  Rowboat Watkins

Illustrator:  Rowboat Watkins

Summary from the Publisher
In this deliciously entertaining book, a not-so-sweet cake—who never says please or thank you or listens to its parents—gets its just desserts. 

The story begins with rude cakes interacting with other characters in a selfish way.  Not only does he neglect to say please, but also he chases a little marshmallow and demands he give up his balloon.  Then at his birthday party, he complains about his gift.  At the park, he ignores his parents and takes things that do not belong to him.  He pushes his way to the front of the line.  Rude cakes never admits he is wrong.  I think this characters does just about everything he can to alienate the other characters. The author does an excellent job in the text and subtext/illustrations to capture the spirit of an unruly child. Using the illustrations, parents can discuss how the other characters feel when rude cakes is being unkind.

The story does not stop there though.  A giant Cyclops takes rude cakes from his room.  (Mind you, this “monster” is not at all scary.  He is kind of adorable.) The irony is while the Cyclops is using rude cakes as a hat  and passing him around to the other Cyclops, they are all using their manners.  They compliment one another.  They share.  They wait their turn.  When rude cakes asks to PLEASE put him back, they “always listen when their hats says please, nicely…and they always apologize when they’re wrong.”

Rude cakes is returned to his room.   The next day, he is a changed cake.  He is seen sharing and positively interacting with the characters he had wronged the day before. I love the final sentence, “Of course, no cake is ever too rude to change.” 

The illustrations are fantastic.  They are animated and dramatic and humorous.  All of which will appeal to the target age.  The idea of giant Cyclops may sound scary, but it is not in the slightest.  Actually, rude cakes takes a Cyclops stuffed doll from another character, making it more palatable in the narrative.  Rude cakes is never scared of the giant Cyclops, just annoyed he is being used as a hat. The author’s fresh take on the sweet cake being awful and the stereotypical monster being sweet is also ideal for discussing not judging people on their outward appearance. 

Rude Cakes is a fun read with excellent educational value as well.  Just about every child needs a reminder to use his manners.  This story is a delightful way to teach or to reteach essential interpersonal skills to youngsters.  I highly recommend this book for ages 2-7. 

Ideas and Activities for Teaching Manners

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