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Review of NO MORE COOKIES by Paeony Lewis

by Becky Laney

Lewis, Paeony. 2005. NO MORE COOKIES. Ill. Brita Granstrom. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0439683327

NO MORE COOKIES is the perfect book for young cookie lovers! Florence, a young girl, and Arnold, a stuffed monkey, are friends who share a great passion: eating cookies. But when Florence's mother sees that her daughter has eaten ALL the cookies in the cookie tin, she says "No More Cookies!" for an entire week. Florence and Arnold's response, "No cookies for a week. That's forever." So they team up and use their imaginations to find creative ways to change her mom's mind. The plans range from Florence and Arnold dressing up as the tooth fairy and fairy monkey who need a cookie so they can fly home to Florence dressing as a nurse and splashing red paint on Arnold--Arnold of course needs an emergency cookie to make him feel better. But none of their plans--as creative as they are--works. But Florence's mother is not completely unfeeling, the book ends with everyone in the kitchen making Magic Monkey Bananas (chocolate-covered frozen bananas with sprinkles).

NO MORE COOKIES is a participatory picture book with a familiar refrain that cookie lovers everywhere will join in on, "It's not fair! All we want is a cookie--just one."

The illustrations are great. An assortment of cookies decorate the green end papers. I love how Florence is portrayed throughout the illustrations. Florence is first shown sitting down holding Arnold, her monkey, on her lap, and one cookie in each hand. Beneath her is a cookie tin holding mainly--if not exclusively--crumbs or broken cookies. The colors are bright and vibrant, red, green, yellow, and purple. Although the reader first sees Florence wearing a red hat, in later illustrations she's shown with black hair that is very tangled. (It looks like she has either given herself her own hair do, or else she won't let her mom near her with a brush!) My favorite illustration of Florence is when she is sitting with Arnold on the front porch. Both are wearing chef's hats. Both have their arms crossed on their chest. Florence has this pouty face, and of course, Arnold's expression hasn't changed any. But I love the fact that Florence has placed Arnold into the same position as herself. But what I especially love are the "drawings" made by Florence throughout the book. (Kid-drawn art is so fun!) Highlights of some of Florence's art include: on green construction paper a self portrait done in blue crayon showing her fierce monster teeth. Her face is surrounded by a circle of seven cookies. Each cookie has an arrow pointing in the direction of her mouth. The caption of her picture: cookie monster! Another great kid-drawn portrait is done on yellow construction paper. Again Florence has drawn herself with blue crayon. The picture shows herself with a ring of chocolate around her face and a bright red tongue sticking out. The caption reads: "For the most chocolate just lick in a circle." Although I won't take the time to describe them individually, each of Florence and Arnold's plans for obtaining cookies is illustrated in one or more plans done on various colors of construction paper.

I read NO MORE COOKIES and thought it was absolutely wonderful. It has been kid-tested in my sister's first grade classroom. The kids enjoyed it greatly. They, of course, started begging her to make them MAGIC MONKEY BANANAS. (By the way, the recipe is included in NO MORE COOKIES, so if parents or teachers are so inclined they can indulge in Magic Monkey Bananas of their own.)

An interesting note, Paeony Lewis, who lives in England, published a British edition entitled NO MORE BISCUITS and an American edition entitled NO MORE COOKIES.

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