Maggie and Pie and the Cookie Contest

Highlights. (Highlights Puzzle Readers). Jun. 2022. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781644726952; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781644726945.
PreS-Gr 2–Maggie and Pie, who like to cook, enter a lively baking competition. Pie does the baking and Maggie assists, though Maggie often gets mixed up, resulting in Amelia Bedelia–like capers. Illustrations combine with text to create a complete narrative, often in picture puzzles where Maggie gives Pie instructions to find baking supplies. For instance, “The mixer is on the bottom shelf. It is silver and white. It is next to the teapot. Can you find it?” Pie is kind and reassuring, clarifying what’s needed and helping Maggie to locate the correct items. However, the paired illustrations are occasionally unclear, such as when Pie asks Maggie to mix up the baking soda and salt, and the picture shows what’s meant to be Maggie mixing up other contestants’ baking supplies. The mix of homonyms, homophones, and homographs, for example when Maggie finds several birds to stand and hold pots when Pie asks for “pot holders” and mistakes the verb “beat” for a vegetable beet, end up making the English language’s quirks seem even more confusing. A beet cookie recipe and puzzle answers are provided at the book’s end.
VERDICT Bright colors, simple sight words, and an energetic feel abound, but on the whole the visual literacy supports and figurative language don’t quite work.

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