Laurie Keller, creator of the wonderful picture books The Scrambled States of America
and Open Wide: Tooth School Inside
, cooks up a rather silly story about a doughnut who narrowly escapes his doughnut fate. Arnie is proud to be chocolate-covered, with bright-colored candy sprinkles. His first day on the planet is a big one. He is 1) cut into a ring 2) deep-fried 3) cooled 4) iced 5) sprinkled and 6) named Arnie. What he doesn't realize is that step 7 is being eaten by a human. So, when a customer, Mr. Bing, starts to put him in his mouth, he screams, "What are you doing?" Arnie is further crushed when he calls the bakery to warn the others only to discover that all the other pastries are "aware of this arrangement." Unfortunately, this delightful plot twist is soured by the contrived ones that follow. Mr. Bing decides that in order to get his money's worth from Arnie he can pretend the doughnut is the dog he's always wanted--a doughnut-dog that will roll over, play fetch, etc.: "He went through a short phase of chewing on the furniture and barking at the mailman, but after a crash course in obedience school he graduated first in his class." However half-baked the story turns out to be, the funny asides and captions that Keller sprinkles throughout the book are often brilliant and the busy, crazy paintings are lots of fun, too. (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-Similar in style and format to Keller's Open Wide (Holt, 2000), this fun-filled adventure takes readers to a bakery. A chocolate-covered doughnut serves as guide, describing each of the steps involved in the creation of various confections. Poor Arnie, however, is clueless as to why people buy tasty treats, and when he is sold to Mr. Bing, he is shocked to discover his fate. Refusing to be eaten, he devises numerous reasons why he should remain whole and ways that he might benefit his new owner. The story becomes quite silly, as both characters think of ridiculous alternatives to the traditional role of a doughnut. Arnie suggests, "I could be your chauffeur," and Mr. Bing replies, "But you can't see over the steering wheel." Then Arnie volunteers to be a bodyguard, and Mr. Bing quips, "Who could you protect me from-a cookie?" In the end, the pastry is substituted for a pet and becomes a "doughnut-dog," doing tricks, attending obedience school, protecting Mr. Bing's abode, and becoming his best friend. Done in acrylic paints and collage, the cartoon artwork flows all over the pages, showing a multitude of details and amusingly bizarre drawings. Filled with offbeat humor, this fantasy spoof also highlights Arnie's optimistic, can-do personality. Kids will eat it up.Rita Soltan, formerly at Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI
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