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© 2008 by Bob Staake -- All Rights Reserved. Published in the United States by Golden Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc, New York

Press, Media + Reviews

"The wild popularity of a new donut shop brings on the kind of competition that no donut- lover wants, the kind where traditional glazed and sugar donuts give way to such imposters as Gooey Cocoa- Mocha Silk and Cherry- Frosted Lemon Bar. Donutland, filled with familiar round donuts and an equally round chef, has lines of hungry people out the door. A pencil-thin competitor gets wind of the success and throws down the yeasty gauntlet: "Your shop is through / When my store opens next to you!" When the donut war escalates beyond absurdity, it takes a wise girl to remind the grown-ups that sometimes simple is best. Told in rhyme, the story meshes nicely with Staake's familiar, multicolored people and geometric style. High-energy illustrations invite young listeners to explore the busy street scenes for details. When the round chef, toting a single glazed donut, leads the sweet parade off the last page, all will know that sanity has returned. Pour a tall glass of milk for this yummy treat."

-- Kirkus Reviews

"Two bakers one-up each other with increasingly experiimental fare (calamari donut, anyone?) until their customers no longer recognize the results as donuts. The pro-simplicity parable is told via a funny, funky art style."

-- Cookie Magazine

"Some books are meant to be tasted, Sir Francis Bacon told us, and "The Donut Chef" appears to be one of them. Read this picture book aloud to a child between the ages of 2 and 6 and you may find that you have to pause while your auditor grabs at the page and makes gobbling sounds. For here are gloriously sugary images: great rows of parti-colored doughnuts slathered in frosting; platters of doughnuts lavishly coated with sprinkles -- yum! The story itself is fairly thin: A chef opens a doughnut shop and is so successful that he attracts a competitor right next door. The two chefs begin dueling for customers by concocting increasingly bizarre and elaborate confections: "They tried new shapes beyond just rings -- / Their donuts were such crazy things! / Some were square and some were starry / Some looked just like calamari! / Some were airy, some were cone-y! / Some resembled macaroni!" The excess becomes wretched, but only when a small child requests a basic glazed doughnut does anyone realize it. " 'Hey, I like glazed!' a voice chimed in. / 'Me too! I LOVE 'em! Where've they been?' / Then all the people sang in praise / Of simple donuts dipped in glaze!" Bob Staake won plaudits for "The Red Lemon" in 2006, and though this subsequent children's offering lacks the restrained graphic chic of "Lemon," its computer-enhanced illustrations share the same exuberant mix of modern and retro. Mr. Staake's work is all spheres and angles, with color that is sometimes saturated, sometimes airbrushed -- but always visually delicious."

-- The Wall Street Journal

A delightful ­ even delicious ­ book for children ages 3-5, Bob Staake's The Donut Chef celebrates not only the yummy fried circular treats but also the notion of old-fashioned comfort food. The chef is a huge, round man drawn in Staake's inimitable circle-upon-circle style; indeed, he looks a bit like a donut (or doughnut) himself. And he succeeds by diligence and skill: "That donut chef, he worked so hard/ By mixing flour, sugar, lard./ He baked his donuts fresh at dawn,/ Then hoped by noon they'd all be gone!" In fact, the chef is so successful that he attracts a competitor ­ obviously a bad guy, since he is drawn as a thin, angular character with a perpetual smirk. The two side-by-side shops compete first on price, then on frills (extra frosting, weird flavors), and then by baking their wares in really odd shapes: "Some were square and some were starry,/ Some looked just like calamari!/ Some were airy, some were cone-y!/ Some resembled macaroni!" Staake's illustrations here are hilarious ­ but there is a serious (well, semi-serious) point made as well: the chefs are so wrapped up in their competition that they are neglecting their customers, especially the children, for whom the new baked goods had "lost their soul." It is left to "little Debbie Sue,/ A teeny girl, just barely two," to point the original Donut Chef in the right direction ­ back toward the traditional glazed donuts that the little girl and, it turns out, many, many other customers remember fondly and want to be able to eat again. So all ends happily, except for the upstart chef, who is left with trays of weird concoctions that no one wants to buy anymore ­ as all the good citizens of the town (drawn in very different, equally amusingly misproportioned ways) celebrate with the original chef and Debbie Sue. This is a delightful book with a throwback message ­ and definitely not for calorie counters.


Rival donut chefs compete for customers by concocting ever more exotic offerings in this eye-catching title from the creator of The Red Lemon. Geometric art in spun-sugar-smooth colors produces a vintage feel; relayed in jubilant rhymed couplets, the story, too, pays tribute to simple pleasures. As each chef innovates, his goods become less and less appealing: "We've donuts laced with kiwi jam,/ and served inside an open clam!/ Donuts made with huckleberry/ (Don't be scared; they're kind of hairy)." Only a girl's request for a glazed donut stops the insanity. The real fun here lies in the visuals: the rotund chef, winking with a semicircular eyebrow and smiling his half-moon-shaped smile; bakery displays of impossibly gorgeous goods; fantastically tall or wide passersby. Everywhere readers look, there are delectable surprises. Ages 3­5

-- Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)

"Staake's illustrations (are) a stylistic collision of Russian constructivism and pop art, (and) explode with energy playing off of basic geometric shapes and angles and swimming in saturated colors."

-- Publishers Weekly


"Staake's (picture books) are notable for the sophistication of their graphic design. Simple enough to hold the attention of toddlers, these colorful, computer-enhanced images are also visually interesting enough to please preschoolers and parents as well."

-- American Library Association


"Bob Staake's modern, crisp illustrations ... practically jump off the page."

-- Publishers Weekly