Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper is a funny and engaging story with a valuable lesson. Cupcake is born one day as a creamy white, perfectly plain and delicious cupcake. He is thrilled to meet his new brothers and sisters and to be part of such a fun and colorful family. Cupcake feels lonely when he realizes that he will never get picked because he is too plain, not fancy and ordinary. His friend, Candle comes along to help make him feel better and discuss his own woes about his own fancy family. Cupcake and Candle work together to make Cupcake more fancy by trying all sorts of toppings including a squirrel, smelly cheese, pickles and spaghetti. Do you think Cupcake likes smelly cheese in his frosting? Definitely not!
Has your child ever felt the way cupcake feels? There are tons of language concepts to work on with this book. Cupcake is written with abstract language embedded in the story such as referring to Candle as being “so bright”. The author also describes each cupcake and candle which can help facilitate describing, commenting and expanding vocabulary (e.g. “colored candle”, “super long candle”, “twisty candle”, etc). The story is simple but the concept of feeling left out is a more complex feeling. Discuss emotions with your child such as feeling lonely, sad and happy. Discuss how Cupcake feels and what he is trying to do by adding all sorts of toppings to his frosting. Does he feel fancier at the end? Also, discuss new vocabulary such as “ordinary”, “plain” and “fancy”. Encourage your child to retell the story by reviewing the sequence of events in the story (e.g. first cupcake is born, then he meet his family, etc).
Carryover Activities: Make cupcakes! There is a recipe included in the back of the book. Another idea is to play the cupcake game that I reviewed here.