Sometimes Cake (Edwina Wyatt, illus by Tamsin Ainslie, Walker)
Audrey meets a lion carrying a purple balloon and asks him if it’s his birthday. ‘Sometimes,’ he responds, ‘but not today’. But considering that Audrey happens to like birthdays, she decides to celebrate all the same—after all, she reasons quite correctly, it must be someone’s birthday. She later finds Lion with a cake—he’s now celebrating Tuesday—and they duly sit down to eat a slice with coconut icing. Lion also celebrates orange and yellow: all the better to make a paper crown in those sunshine colours. Just when Audrey (and the reader) has gotten used to the endless celebratory occasions, the very next day sees Lion lazing about in the garden doing not much at all—it’s just an ordinary day. However, Audrey decides to throw a party to celebrate this non-momentous day, just the same. Sometimes Cake is a sweet tale about the joy of special days that are worth blowing up balloons and scattering confetti for, but is also a good reminder that sometimes we should just be grateful for pockets of time that can be spent with friends. Edwina Wyatt’s gentle words are well-suited to Tamsin Ainslie’s soft watercolours, making this picture book ideal for preschoolers.
Thuy On is a freelance arts journalist and reviewer, and the books editor of the Big Issue