If you are tired of reading the same books to your children over and over again, and you are looking for something different and intriguing, take a look at British author, Francesca Lilley’s Mr. Badger and His Rose Petal Cake, illustrated by her godfather, John Watling. Lilley’s book highlights the importance of caring for one another and promotes a fun activity that encourages family time: baking!
Mr. Badger and His Rose Petal Cake depicts a story about a badger who lives in a special place called the Dingley Dell. It is a place that “you can’t go by car, you have to sail,” on which a fairy has cast a special spell. Mr. Badger bakes a cake and wants to take it to the market for trade. On his way out the door, he bumps his head, drops his cake, and thus the story of Mr. Badger’s dizzy and dreamy adventure begins. In this confused, dream-like state, he thinks he is a snail and slithers on the ground. Then he thinks he is a horse, galloping and neighing. Lastly, he leaps and croaks like a frog. As he walks around in a daze, a goat, a rabbit and a robin see him and wonder what is wrong with him. They worry that the “creature” that sleeps in the forest will be woken up because of all the commotion Mr. Badger is stirring up. Sure enough, the creature is “rudely awoken.” Mr. Badger then runs into a duck who tells him that he has a bump on his head. This somehow brings Mr. Badger’s mind back and he wonders where his cake is. As his new animal friends help him to make his way back home, the “creature” appears, but before it can reach Mr. Badger and his friends, the fairy appears and casts a spell to protect and save them. When Mr. Badger finally returns home, he thanks his friends for helping him get home, and they all eat his rose petal cake together.
Although it is not very obvious in the story itself, Lilley’s goal is to encourage parents and their children to take up baking as a fun family activity. Mr. Badger’s cake frames the story of his journey back to house. Finding his way back home is made possible by the encouragement and guidance of Mr. Badger’s new friends. With this, the author advocates taking care of one another. Lilley also provides the reader with a recipe at the back of the book, telling the young reader to wash their hands and “get a grown up to help.” She also includes an appetizing picture. Francesca Lilley’s book transforms story time into a valuable lesson, teaching young readers to realize the significance of lending each other a helping hand, and leading parents and their children from one family activity to another.