"The Tiny Chef: And Da Mishing Weshipee Blook"
BY: Rachel Larsen, Adam Reid and Ozi Akturk (Razorbill, Sept. 15), preschool to third grade, 40 pages, $10.99 Kindle, $18.99 hardcover.
STORY: Our 8-inch-tall stop-motion pal Tiny Chef wants to make his first-day-of-fall veggie stew because it is the first day of fall. But he can't find his recipe book — which is directly in front of him on the kitchen island in his adorable tree-stump home.
He ransacks the stump, scattering miniature accoutrements: "I fannot meleeve dish mashally haffumed!"
But then he counts to 10 and goes for a walk through the towering herbs in his garden. An idea comes to him. He rolls a huge mushroom cap home to prep. So much chopping and humming and blathering! Then, with his tummy rumbling, he lets the new stew cook while he keeps busy singing songs about dinner.
The finished creation is so delicious he weeps, a little. This picture book includes the recipe.
Tiny Chef is the sort of character that could become a commercial juggernaut for the toys-industrial complex, but at the moment he is a still-emerging felt herbivore with major support from Hollywood investors. Publicity materials say Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Kristen Bell have an equity stake in developing the short-form, stop-motion animation character "across all platforms."
Cheffie's brief videos are on the usual social media outlets, with newer videos on Facebook and Instagram than YouTube. Earlier in the pandemic, the Facebook account published a video in which he breaks an animal cracker in two. I would look for that one if I were you.
Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.