From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3—This cautionary tale tells of a baker who almost loses track of his true calling while trying to outwit and outdo a competitor. The donut chef is proud of his newly opened store, and his success becomes so great that another man decides to open his own establishment, vowing, "Your shop is through.../When my
store opens next to you!" The feud soon becomes fierce, with each owner creating confections in bizarre flavors like "Peanut-Brickle Buttermilk,/And Gooey Cocoa-Mocha Silk," and in even stranger shapes. But sometimes competition can destroy, too, as the sweets soon lose "their taste. They'd lost their soul./They'd even lost their donut hole!" It takes little Debbie Sue and her request for a simple glazed donut to bring the chef to his senses. Soon other customers are clamoring for the same thing, and, now enlightened, the baker goes back to basics. The entire book has a retro tone, from its lengthy rhyming text to its Art Deco-style illustrations, which are updated with more modern-looking graphic shapes and a multicolored palette. The pictures are slightly reminiscent of Dan Yaccarino's work, but with much sharper, more clearly defined lines. Aside from a jarring mistake when a shop "selling round the clock" becomes one whose doors close "at six," the story's lively rhythmic text and colorful artwork should make it a good pick for storytime.—Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY
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Review, Cookie Magazine, September 2008:
"The pro-simplicity parable is told via a funny, funky art style."Review, The Wall Street Journal, September 20-21, 2008:
"Some books are meant to be tasted. . . and The Donut Chef
appears to be one of them. Mr Staake's work is . . . visually delicious."Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, October 27, 2008:
"Everywhere readers look, there are delectable surprises."