Clarence is a little boy who steals cakes from the townspeople. But his life changes the day he finds something that isn’t a cake under the cover of a cake stand.
In her book The Cake Thief, author and illustrator Sally O. Lee shows how Clarence is transformed when someone offers him unexpected kindness.
The author never tells us the reason for Clarence’s stealing. This may be a good thing because the open-endedness could lead to discussions about why children misbehave in general and steal in particular. Other subjects that might come up are ways to treat kids who don’t fit in and how a sense of belonging can change someone for the better.
The vivid illustrations are oil paintings on paper. There are several that fill entire pages and the bright colors add playfulness. The illustrations also help interpret the story, as we see Clarence at the end minus the eye mask which he never takes off in his thieving days.
The text of this 34-page book is simple, short and to the point. It should hold the attention of even busy little people when it’s read to them. Competent early elementary readers will be able to read it themselves. Children ages two to six years will enjoy The Cake Thief.