MARCEL THE PASTRY CHEF (Little Rooster)

4.47 avg rating
( 34 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780553051926: MARCEL THE PASTRY CHEF (Little Rooster)

A dishwashing hippopotamus practices pastry making in the palace kitchen each night while the rest of the world sleeps. Then one night the king discovers one of his delicious cream puffs. Confusion and justice follow.

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From Publishers Weekly:

While Marcel the hippo toils as the palace dishwasher, he dreams of baking pastries and practices his culinary skills in the royal kitchen after everyone has gone to sleep. Usually careful to eat the evidence, Marcel accidentally leaves a stray cream puff in the kitchen to be discovered--and devoured--by the restless and hungry king. A mistaken-identity plot twist ensues, and the king's greedy chef seems destined to garner praise and riches for Marcel's hidden talents. The hippo saves the day and reveals his baking abilities by creating a fabulous, pink 17-layer wedding cake for the princess bride, and the impersonating pastry chef gets his just deserts. Mayer's ( The Unicorn and the Lake ; The Little Jewel Box ) text avoids the slapstick potential of its plot situations and instead becomes a warm, amusing tale of humility and selflessness. McDermott's ( Arrow to the Sun ; Anansi the Spider ) distinctively detailed drawings (beads of sweat form on Marcel's brow as "he baked like he'd never baked before") depict a captivating cast of pleasantly plump characters. A tasty read. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Since he's a hippopotamus, Marcel is deemed unworthy to be a baker; he must scrub pots in the king's kitchen. Still, he knows he has a gift and gets up nightly to practice it, concealing his masterpieces by eating them. One night he forgets a cream puff, which the king enjoys during a midnight prowl. It's only a matter of time (the snooty, incompetent cook at first gets credit for Marcel's wonderful confections; Marcel later saves him by producing an incredible wedding cake) before the truth outs. The ending here is a little flat, but the story is smoothly told (except for banalities like ``all good things eventually come to an end, even if they just lead to other good things''). McDermott (1975 Caldecott for Arrow to the Sun) provides lively, well- designed illustrations in a popular style, adding pleasantly to the story's humor. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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