Monday, August 8, 2022

Today's read... This is a (Disaster) Birthday Cake by Andrew Cangelose (and a cave tip)!

I'm shoving today's scheduled read, 1-2-3-4 I Declare a Thumb War, to tomorrow because... I've been baking a birthday cake! Well, among other things.

There's only 2 more weeks until school starts up again. So, we've been trying to work in some extra fun for the kids. This weekend, we ventured down to northern Arkansas and visited a cave near Harrison. Okay, I'm going to go off a quick tangent here because this cave is pretty unknown and so-super-awesome to visit! It's called Eden Falls (remember that, you adventurers!) and is about a 2-mile hike round-trip with quite a few rock-stairs. 

The trail leads past a natural bridge with a smaller waterfall running through (small rock climbing fans will love this, btw). Then, there's a much larger waterfall, farther down, with a very high cliff wall. Here, there's a large, natural alcove and boulders to climb between. No worries about the water. The level is usually not very high, not at all. 

Lastly, at the very end of the trail is a cave. Now, there aren't any signs or explanations...BUT... knowers know that if you just happen to have a flashlight (a headlamp is perfect) and aren't claustrophobic, you can crawl through the cave (it's only about 3 feet high through a longer stretch) and break out into a 20 ft high cavern, which as a water fall cascading from the top. It is amazing and very much worth the visit...especially since very, very few people are prepared (or willing...or know what it truly is) to head on through. Yes, it is there to be explored. A park ranger comes by a few times a day, heads on back into the cave, and makes sure all's well. So, take this as an insider's tip because if you're in the area, you'll want to keep this one in mind.

Okie, back to books... my father's birthday is today, and I truly did bake a cake. So, today's read is just perfect.    

by Andrew Cangelose
Illustrated by Josh Shipley
Oni Press
Picture Book
20 pages
ages 4 to 8

AUGUST 23rd!!!

Fan-favorite characters from This Is a Taco are back in this hilarious picture book tale of the ultimate birthday cake disaster!

It's Taco the squirrel's birthday, and all of his little animal friends are planning a big surprise for him—they're going to make him a birthday cake! The only problem with their plan is that none of them know how to make a cake. So, as this sassy crew of critters is known to do, they set out to learn all they can about birthday cakes and how to make one, with spectacularly disastrous and delightful results.



Birthday cakes take on an entirely new meaning as a squirrel tries to get the party started as quickly as he can.

The squirrel is going to learn how to bake a birthday cake from the forest's best baker, but when she starts giving him history lessons along the way and insists he remain patient...well, parties won't wait forever. So, the squirrel decides to take matters into his own hands and runs off to bake the fastest, tastiest cake ever. To do it, he might just have to make some ingredient changes, though.

Fast-paced, zany fun slams full-force into a bit of history surrounding birthday cakes, while mixing in tons and tons of hilarious moments. And all of it swirls together more than splendidly. The squirrel's whole-hearted intentions make him easy to support, even when he goes off on a ridiculous tangent, which demands raised eyebrows, snorts, shakes of the head, and giggles (tons of giggles). It's more than clear that disaster is on its way, but it's squirrel's totally unpredictable ideas, which make it impossible not to want to know what he'll come up with next.

The patience of the baker slams a sharp contrast to squirrel's high-strung attitude, especially when the baker presents information surrounding the history of birthday cakes, facts about ingredients, and explanations over the baking process. These are even worded in a slightly 'higher language' style to throw extra emphasis between the two characters.  Plus, they are interesting facts, which readers/listeners will grab on to and remember. 

This makes a fun read-aloud and holds tons of silliness with just the right pinch of information.

And here they are...

Andrew Cangelose is an elementary school principal in Kansas City, MO. He has four children who are constantly "making" him play Legos with them.

Josh Shipley is an illustrator, designer, and animator currently living in Kansas City, MO. He has two sons who help push him to tell better stories, keep his illustration skills top notch, and remind him to always (and they mean ALWAYS) keep his silliness silly.

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