Hello, friends! Happy 2018! We’re starting a new year of reading with Bagel In Love, written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Helen Dardik, the story of a bagel looking for the perfect dance partner, and perhaps something more…
More than anything, Bagel loves to dance. And more than anything, he wants to compete in the big dance contest being held at this year’s Cherry Jubilee. One problem: he just can’t find a partner who can appreciate his moves! He asks many of the sweet ladies in town – Donut, Croissant, Pretzal, Matzo, etc. – but they all turn him down. Bagel is about to give up on competing this year, but as he taps himself down the street, he begins to hear something: someone matching him beat for beat! Could this be the dance partner he hoped for?
Frankly, we had some mixed feelings on this one. The story was fine, and featured some truly clever baked-goods puns, but was ultimately pretty bland; there’s not really a solid message to take away other than “someday, you may find someone who shares your hobbies.” The ending is a bit abrupt, and the emphasis on love felt a little odd, considering the female character is not even introduced until the last few pages. I also wasn’t entirely comfortable with how rudely every single female who wasn’t Cupcake rejected Bagel; it seemed to depict all women except “the one” as being unnecessarily cruel. On the bright side, the art is extremely creative with the premise, you couldn’t ask for more color, and JJ enjoyed the glittery elements on later pages – but even the cutesyness of the illustrations were a little much for me, especially paired with a “meh” story. The length is fine, and JJ loved the colors, but even she was disinterested in the story. Ultimately, this ended up being a lot like the confections it featured: sugary-sweet, but not much substance.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)