Dad and three children are at home sharing an ‘everyday’. Once the washing is hung, the children want to know what they will do next. Dad suggests making a cake. So begins the long wait until the children can lick the spoon. There’s fun to be had first as they mix all the ingredients. The baby sits on the floor and bangs pans, investigates cupboards and generally entertains him/herself. The children regularly chant the refrain that provides the title. Finally, it’s time to lick the spoon, but there’s still waiting to be done before the cake is cool enough and iced and they can eat it. Illustrations are in pencil, gouache and some collage and provide baby with his/her own story, not alluded to in the text. The cover has a very identifiable red-with-white-spots spine and a soft lemon coloured front and back.
The text for Can We Lick the Spoon Now? is simple and the cake-making a gentle activity but many readers will relate to the stages involved before it’s possible to eat the cake. The addition of Baby’s visual story provides a second narrative that may not be seen on first reading, but supports rereading. There is a delightful calmness to the cake-making despite some of the challenges that can come with small children in the kitchen. As well as guiding his three children through the cake-making, Dad is doing the washing, and even a little shopping. There’s a lovely twist at the end that is at once real and surprising. Recommended for pre-school and early-primary aged children. (And anyone who’s ever made a cake with small children!)
Can We Lick the Spoon Now?? Carol Goess, ill Tamsin Ainslie
Working Title Press 2010
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author
This book can be purchased from good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.