From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2–The conceit of this picture book is a make-believe episode of a kids' cooking program, and the show for the day is “Pirate Cooking with Henry, Elliebelly, and Baby Anne.” The featured recipe is “raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles with barbecued banana bacon,” and the description is so yummy that readers can almost smell it. Henry is clearly in charge, until two-year-old Elliebelly voices her opinions and concerns (over and over and over again). Her contributions clearly frustrate her brother, and their delightful exchanges add some zest to the production. The entire story is written in dialogue and the sibling relationship is presented with skill; the joys and irritations that the two experience are clear. Mom's off-camera additions (“Work it out, you two”) ring as true as the minor spats throughout. While the cooking-show concept may be lost on kids unfamiliar with the medium, the pure adventure of creative play and experimentation will be a treat for any reader. As can be expected, Yaccarino has created characters and an environment that grab readers' attention and won't let go. His interpretation of Elliebelly, with her wild curls, peek-a-boo bellybutton, and ever-present pink butterfly wings, is especially perfect. Parkhurst's carefully chosen dialogue and Yaccarino's deceptively simple art create a delicious delicacy.Heather Acerro, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN
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Henry, the older of the two sibling chefs, sees himself as the lead of his pretend cooking show; however, it is two-year-old redhead Elliebelly who adds her personal touch by insisting, much to Henry’s chagrin, that they both don pirate hats for the show. Although they purport to be concocting “raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles with barbecued banana bacon,” it appears that the ingredients put in the mixing bowl are more pretend than anything else. After a complication and a commercial break, the two chefs sample their invisible fare, a concept Elliebelly doesn’t grasp. However, before it becomes too much of an issue, Mom—who is offscreen refereeing and apparently cooking—calls them over for real waffles. The appealing cartoon-style illustrations in a bold color palette show Henry and Elliebelly against a white backdrop, so that they, and the few attractive accoutrements that clutter their workspace, really pop out. For stories about other budding chefs, check out Cari Best’s Easy as Pie and Liz Rosenberg’s Nobody (both 2010). Preschool-Grade 2. --Randall Enos