A book to involve even the youngest, this delightful book brings the many featured bake-offs on the TV into every reader’s kitchen. Miss Betsy Bear runs a cool baking school, and six young bear cubs arrive ready for instruction, with the hope of carrying off the BEST BAKER cup at the end of the week. Helpfully, the cubs wear the same outfits throughout, enabling readers easily to identify and match each cub with the text!
‘The bears fire their ovens; they whisk and they cream.
PUFF goes the flour and SHHhhh goes the steam.
The pots and pans clang; the kettle starts to sing.
Whoops! There’s the timer… DING-A LING-LING!’
This chorus rings out daily at the end of every bake-off, as Miss Betsy judges the cubs’ efforts. Gloopy chocolate cake, yummy cupcakes and nutty puddings compete with fruit tarts, fig pies, cracked pastry and a salmon sensation. On Wednesday it is time to learn about bread-making. The rhymes pound along as the dough is kneaded and shaped. With the pictures showing each cub proudly presenting their loaves fresh from the oven, the tantalising smells just waft across the page!! Thursday is cookies day. Miss Betsy demands biscuits with a SNAP and a CRUNCH… and after the repeated chorus… ‘Whoops! There’s the timer…’ We see macaroons, gingerbread men, iced biscuits, custard creams and pink wafers emerge from the ovens. Who will win the coveted prize? The tables are littered with cooking utensils, recipe books, dripping honey spoons and cracked egg shells, as, on Friday, Miss Betsy announces that a grand picnic is the final challenge. Which bear cub will out-bake the rest? SPLASH, CLATTER, bubble; DRIP, DING-A-LING-LING! The judging begins. ‘Fishy! Squishy! Nutritious! Delicious!’ declares Miss Betsy, and the winner is announced. This splendid book ends with Miss Betsy Bear’s Buns recipe, enough for twelve hungry bear cubs, ingredients listed and a simple method. Whilst the book’s first endpaper shows baked creations to be identified later, the final endpaper shows labelled utensils used throughout. This book is a perfect match between its author’s rhyming text and the illustrator’s empathy and good humour. Find it, it’s a perfect bear bake-off!