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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Blaze and the Castle Cake for Bertha Day
by Claude Ponti
Age Range: 6-8
Blaze the masked ‘chicklet’ rouses the rabble of chicklets with an announcement that they have only ten days to prepare for their best friend Bertha Day’s party. This larger-than-life cake must house and feed a multitude of guests. “For the party, they want to build her the most unbelievalicious castle of cakes.”
First, they must send out the invitations but luckily the Mailybirds are on hand to help as they know everyone’s address. Then the chicklets need to gather the eggs, and they must be the right sort of castle eggs, go down the Chocolate mine to dig out chocolate, collect sugar from the mountain top, flour from the hillsides and fruit carried down twigs and stems in the forest. It’s certainly going to be a magnificent cake.
Throughout the double-page spreads the chicklets scurry, flutter, tumble and help, while a few are caught napping or are getting up to no good. When the party day arrives, guests pour into the amazing pastry palace, many of them unmistakable characters from classic story books.
This oversized picture book from French author and illustrator Claude Ponti is a truly scrumptious offering. Translators Alyson Waters and Margot Kerlidou have captured Ponti’s playful wordplay and humour so superbly with the invention of new words which young readers are going to love – the batter must be “mixed, blended and splatulated”; “pastry-fied” and “there’s just so much of it, and it’s so irresistiblisciously and incredibliscious. ” Combined with Ponti’s meticulously detailed and colourful illustrations this book is a perfect feast.
Tucked in the book is a Search and Find page which will keep children (and adults) busy for hours as they look for the famous story-book characters.
Other Claude Ponti titles published by Elsewhere Editions and reviewed on the website are: Hiznobyuti (2018) and My Valley (2017)