The Screaming Chef By Peter Ackerman
A boy prone to screaming takes up cooking in this muddled picture book.
The unnamed child begins as a terror—his parents have no solution for the fits that occur frequently and without any obvious provocation. Fortunately, the boy's parents are excellent cooks, and the child is happy when his mouth is full of food.
Unfortunately, he quickly becomes rather rotund.
The solution: teach him to cook for himself. Before long, he is dicing daikon and filleting fish and even singing instead of screaming.
Next comes his own restaurant, Boy, where his innovative creations cause increasingly ridiculous reactions from customers enraptured by his flavors. Trouble arrives one busy night when the boy loses his focus and accidentally mixes up his recipes.
Upset over his errors, he relapses into a tantrum that threatens to chase away his customers. Surprisingly, all it takes is a stern word from his parents and the possibility of losing the restaurant to quiet him down and turn him into a singing, happy chef once again, a far too easy resolution.
Former screenwriter Ackerman's attempt at a humorous tale of bad behavior has moments of silliness that may elicit giggles, but overall, it fails to cohere into an engaging narrative. The overly long narrative feels labored by the list of amusing customer antics, and the protagonist lacks any sort of personality.
Dalton's cartoon illustrations are relatively static, frequently repeating the same narrow range of facial and body expressions for the boy and his parents. While appropriate for the simple story line, they fail to elevate the text.
• Age Range: 2 - 5 years
• Grade Level: Preschool - 3
• Hardcover: 32 pages
• Publisher: David R Godine (May 30, 2017)
• Language: English
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