Thé-Tjong Khing was born in Indonesia, studied in the Netherlands, and is now one of the Netherlands’ best-known illustrators and authors. His books have been translated into several languages, and Where is the Cake? must have been the easiest as, except for the title, it is a wordless book.
The main story involves a chase after two possums who have taken Mr. and Mrs. Dog’s cake. The action takes place on large pages (even a bit larger than the pages of a magazine) so there is plenty of room for detail, and for a host of different animals. There are more than 30 characters on each page, and almost as many storylines! I “read” this with my two-year-old daughter, and we had a great fun trying to keep track of what everyone was up to.
While it is wordless, it still lends itself to a lot of interaction. I was constantly talking to her about what must have happened “in between” the pages and congratulating her as she found Mr. and Mrs. Dog once again. She loved it, and her dad did too because it was book I could read again and again (as parents are often required to do) and keep finding new things. Great fun, and beautifully done.
There is a sequel called Where Is the Cake Now? which continues the story. It is also very good, but doesn’t quite duplicate the charm of the original.
Jon Dykstra blogs on books at ReallyGoodReads.com.