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Cover image for Bunny cakes
Bunny cakes




Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"A Max & Ruby picture book"--Cover.

"First published in 1997 by Dial, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc."--Title page verso.
Max makes an earthworm cake for Grandma's birthday and helps Ruby with her angel surprise cake. At the store, the grocer can't read all of the shopping list, until Max solves the problem by drawing pictures.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader LG 2.6 .5.


Call Number
JP Wel

On Order



It's Grandma's birthday, and Max wants to make her an icky, worm-infested cake. But Ruby says, "No, Max. We are going to make Grandma an angel surprise cake, with raspberry-fluff icing." Will Max let his bossy older sister keep him out of the kitchen? Or will they both become bunnies who bake?

Author Notes

Rosemary Wells was born in New York City on January 29, 1943. She studied at the Museum School in Boston. Without her degree, she left school at the age of 19 to get married. She began her career in publishing, working as an art editor and designer first at Allyn and Bacon and later at Macmillan Publishing.

She is an author and illustrator of over 60 books for children and young adults. Her first book was an illustrated edition of Gilbert and Sullivan's I Have a Song to Sing-O. Her other works include Martha's Birthday, The Fog Comes on Little Pig Feet, Unfortunately Harriet, Mary on Horseback, and Timothy Goes to School. She also created the characters of Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, and Yoko, which are featured in some of her books. She has won numerous awards including a Children's Book Council Award for Noisy Nora in 1974, the Edgar Allan Poe award for two young adult books, Through the Looking Glass and When No One Was Looking, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Shy Charles.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1‘For Grandma's birthday, Max makes an earthworm cake while Ruby decides to go all out with an "angel surprise cake with raspberry-fluff icing." Max wants to help but instead knocks the ingredients off the counter one by one. Thus, with a list from Ruby in hand, he makes repeated trips to the store. He also tries to buy Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters for his own cake, but the grocer can't read his colorful scribbles. It's not until the fourth and final trip that silent Max discovers the power of representational drawing. In the end, Grandma is satisfyingly thrilled with both of her cakes. This deceptively simple story touches on several ideas, from birthdays and baking to making lists and shopping. More importantly, it shows two independent, self-assured youngsters accomplishing individual, age-appropriate goals. Ruby and Max have a wonderful sibling relationship; Ruby tells Max just what not to do, and Max does just what he wants and neither one gets mad. Despite the repeated mishaps, they remain undaunted and refreshingly cheerful. Vibrant ink-and-watercolor art and a clean, effective layout focus readers' attention on the action at hand and on the irresistible, busy, rabbit characters. Wells continues to speak directly to young children.‘Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

It's kitchen chaos as Wells's beloved Max and Ruby become bunnies who bake. Max and Ruby each have grand plans for Grandma's birthday cake. Max envisions an earthworm cake with caterpillar frosting and "Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters" on top. Ruby, however, insists on an "angel surprise cake with raspberry-fluff icing." Max tries his best to help his bossy older sister but, as always, winds up making a mess. After spilling the milk or breaking the eggs, Max is repeatedly dispatched to the store with Ruby's neatly printed list of ingredients, all the while trying to figure out how to convey his own request to the grocer. Wells's (My Very First Mother Goose) ink-and-watercolor world is cheery as ever here, replete with a cozy, '50s-esque kitchen and friendly neighborhood market. She accurately captures the prickliness of sibling exchanges ("There's a yellow line on the floor, Max," says Ruby when Max returns with a replacement bottle of milk. "You can't step over that line"). Hapless Max maintains a happy-go-lucky demeanor in any situation, a shining example of patience and perseverance. And when it comes to the interplay between pared-down text and eventful illustrations, Wells, quite simply, takes the cake. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Ruby is making a cake, but Max accidentally breaks the eggs, spills the milk, and dumps the flour. After each disaster Ruby sends him to the store with a note listing the needed ingredient. Max, too young to write, tries to add his own request to the list and learns the power of writing and drawing as communication tools. Max and Ruby are as funny as ever, and teachers in particular will appreciate the obvious educational tie-ins. From HORN BOOK 1997, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

The famous Max and his sister, Ruby, are the stars of this self-proclaimed brand-name production--A Max & Ruby Picture Book- -but there is no formula here--only extreme originality. To celebrate their grandmother's birthday, Max is constructing an earthworm cake while bossy Ruby declares that a real cake will be made. She begins whipping one up. Max, in the meantime, breaks the eggs, the first in a series of mishaps that lends repetition--the soul of story hours--to the plot. List from Ruby in hand, he is sent to the store each time he destroys an item, and attempts to add (in a preschooler's version of handwriting) his own sought-after ingredient, Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters. Each time, the grocer understandably cannot read Max's writing; each time Max returns home, he finds that Ruby is attempting to keep accidents to a minimum by keeping him away from her work. At one point, she posts a drawing in which Max appears inside a red circle with a line through it. Wells's ingenuity never flags, not in the brief text nor in the illustrations. Her close-ups of destroyed ingredients and her many ways of showing two children in the same setting suggest she knows her subject well. Ruby's sloping iced cake is a gem, and Max's is grandly icky and visibly worm-infested: ``Grandma was so thrilled, she didn't know which cake to eat first.'' (Picture book. 3-7)

Booklist Review

Ages 2-6. Wells has that rare ability to tell a funny story for very young children with domestic scenes of rising excitement and heartfelt emotion, and with not one word too many. Some of the recent Max stories have been a bit convoluted, but this fourteenth book about the determined small rabbit and his bossy older sister is rooted in elemental childhood scenarios: playing in mud, baking a cake, making a list, planning a gift, showing who you are. As in Max's First Word (1979), there's a deliciously satisfying reversal; in fact, there's a reversal on almost every page. It's hard to summarize the story: every word matters, every picture extends the confrontation. Max makes an earthworm cake for Grandma's birthday, but Ruby says no, they are going to make an angel surprise cake with raspberry fluff icing. Max wants to help, but Ruby tells him not to touch anything. Too late--the eggs fall on the ground. So Ruby sends Max to the store with a list that says EGGS. Max wants Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters for his earthworm cake, so he adds that to the list, but the grocer can't read Max's "writing," and he gives Max only eggs. Is Max's clumsiness in the kitchen deliberate? He smiles beatifically as he bumps the table and the milk falls, then the flour; Ruby gets more and more uptight, her eyes squinched together. Still, his frustration is almost unbearable: each time, he tries so hard to "write" Marshmallow Squirters; and each time, the kindly grocer sees only Ruby's order and Max's scribble. As Ruby finishes up her cake, Max has to stay outside, but it's Ruby's face we see peering through the wire mesh and bars of the kitchen screen door, shut inside. Very satisfied with her creation, Ruby sends Max to buy some cake decorations, and this time he has an idea: he draws a picture of those Marshmallow Squirters. He races to the store, and, at last, the grocer understands. Then, while Ruby adds her final elaborate adornments--birthday candles, silver stars, sugar hearts, buttercream roses--Max goes outside and puts caterpillar icing and Red-Hot Marshmallow Squirters on his earthworm cake. In the final scene, Grandma, elegant in a purple hat with pink roses, is thrilled. She looks at both big cakes, and she doesn't know which one to eat first. Eat is the word. (Reviewed January 1 & 15, 1997)0803721439Hazel Rochman