Picture Books

Review: Chocolate Cake by Michael Rosen



After Michael Rosen’s fantabulous answers to my questions on Thurs, I wanted to share with you the book which brought about the Q and A. Isn’t it special? Many of you know the poem Chocolate Cake. I first came across it at school, in a different edition. Since then, YouTube has come along. Rosen is a YouTube natural. His videos are hilarious, and allow his poetry to be accessed in a different format. This book is the text of the YouTube performance. Please note, although the protagonist is named as Michael, to avoid confusion I refer to him either as ‘the protagonist’ or ‘the boy’. 

Kevin Waldron is a new illustrator. Judging by Chocolate Cake, he is a rising star. I love img_2909the mix of close-ups and comic-book style pages. Sometimes the boy and the cake appear multiple times across a double-page spread. My eyes followed their journey across the page, as if I was on the journey with the protagonist. 

I love the bright-pastel palette, and how some details are simple black-and-white line drawings. This keeps our attention on the boy and the cake, and on the words. 

Anyone familiar with Rosen will know he uses lots of noises in his performances. He img_2912explained the reasons these noises were kept in the printed version in the Q and A. I love how these words are emphasised in bold, playful font. Children really are encouraged to act them out, and to think up their own words. 

We all relate to the boy’s  situation. I read this at a poetry group, to an audience aged 19 – over 80. Everyone related to the feeling of being caught out, and plenty of people empathised with the midnight fridge raids! 

It is lovely to see Chocolate Cake in picture book format. It’s a format which is easy to share, and easy to reread, and the pictures are a celebration of the text as well as a new way to experience the story. I can see this being devoured by schools, and it would make a great gift for any chocoholic. 


Huge thanks to Sarah Hastelow at Penguin Random House for sending a copy to review. This does not affect the honesty of my review.

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