Newest Review: ... this book! Spot Bakes A Cake obviously follows the lovable dog 'Spot' who in this book is making a cake for daddy dogs birthday with t... more
A Classic Spot the Dog Story
Spot Bakes a Cake - Eric Hill
Member Name: jo1976
Spot Bakes a Cake - Eric Hill
Date: 14/03/11, updated on 10/10/13 (75 review reads)
Advantages: Simple, easy to understand story for little ones
Disadvantages: Older children may prefer a more challenging read
Most households with young children will be familiar with Eric Hill's character, Spot the Dog. We own a few books featuring the cute young canine with 'Spot Bakes a Cake' still being a firm favourite with my three year old son.
This story features Spot baking a cake, with a little help from his Mum. (The clue is there in the title!) This is not just any old cake though; this is a birthday cake for Spot's Dad. Baking cakes and celebrating birthdays are two of my children's favourite activities so it's not hard to understand why this simple story has been revisited so many times. The structure and content are very easy to understand as we follow all of the steps involved in making the birthday cake, right from opening the cupboards to discover that they are empty. The pages go on to reveal Spot shopping for the crucial ingredients - chocolate and lots of it- then setting about making and icing the cake and finally presenting it, with pride, to his Dad. The pictures accompanying the story are bright and clear, with each object and activity being instantly recognisable to young children.
Each double page spread features a single reinforced flap to open, usually revealing Spot or his little friend, a tiny little mouse, either getting up to mischief or making a lot of mess. All of the flaps are firmly attached and have proved to be surprisingly robust as none of them are showing any signs of any damage on our copy, despite numerous repeated readings. There is usually also a short phrase under each flap too. The language used under each flap and throughout the main story is really simple and totally replicates a typical conversation between a mother and her child under these circumstances. The Mummy dog's comments are phrases that are certainly familiar to me - 'Help me clean up, Spot!' 'Go easy on the icing, Spot!' I think this is part of the charm of the story and one of the reasons why my boys have always enjoyed reading it as they can easily relate to it.
This is a relatively short story, with just 22 pages featuring very short, simple sentences. This makes it ideal for under-twos with short attention spans but is also handy as a quick bedtime read for slightly older children, especially when short on time. Older children would probably appreciate slighly more complex stories or books that are a little more interactive but this is still a pleasant relaxing easy read.
Another advantage of the simple language and small number of pages is that it can be used as a very early reader for young children once they are starting to recognise words and read simple stories. My oldest son used to enjoy reading this to his baby brother when he was about five years old. He would sometimes get a little bored and frustrated trying to read aloud the formal reading books he brought home from school but this proved to be a fun and, crucially, a very easy book to read, especially as he was already familiar with the words and could use the clear illustrations to jog his memory. This helped to build his confidence and encouraged to tackle other stories.
I would recommend this book both as a simple bedtime story for pre-school children and then as an easy first reading book for slightly older children. It is a story that can be enjoyed time and time again.
Summary: A children's classic