Being a dog lover and anything food related, I was happy to get my hands on Monica Kulling's Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity. This is the second book with the well mannered mixed breed, Mister Dash, who lives a "civilized" life with his owner, Madam Croissant. In Merci Mister Dash!, peaceful days are spent until Madam Croissant's grand daughter, Daphne, comes for a visit. Life turns topysy turvy for Mister Dash and he ultimately proves himself the hero of the story.
Monica has such a knack for adding subtle humor to her writing and it had me grinning throughout the story.
click to enlarge
Esperança Melo's rich acrylic illustrations perfectly compliment Monica's fun lyrical writing style. The lusciousness of the paint strokes make the cupcake's frosting pop off the page and her illustrations enhance the humor in Monica's writing perfectly.
(Mister Dash donning a disguise hoping to sneak away from Daphne.)
I asked Monica what inspired Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity...
"I first met Mister Dash, or rather a dog with the name “Dash,” while walking my two big dogs in Toronto’s High Park. On the trail ahead a woman was calling her dog, “Da-ash! Mister Da-ash!” I thought, what a great name, and wondered what type of dog would come running. It turned out that jaunty “Mister Dash” was a black standard poodle. What a great character for a picture book, I said to myself. I spent the remainder of my walk creating a storyline and a couple more characters.
In my first Mister Dash story, Merci Mister Dash!, I made my main character a poodle. The first editor who read the story turned it down with a curt, “I don’t like stories with poodles in them.” Hmm. How unusual. In response to this rejection, I turned my Mister Dash into a mixed-breed dog, and that has probably worked out best all round because it has opened up more possibilities. Mister Dash can now rely on five different breeds in his makeup to help save the day.
Cupcake Calamity, by Esperança Melo’s illustrations for the first book, especially the kitchen scene in which Daphne and Dash are eating caramel popcorn. I love the blue and yellow squared floor in that spread! So I decided I must write another story and that it must mainly take place in the kitchen. But how would I do that? Madame Croissant owned a gift store in the first book. Then I thought, why can’t Madame Croissant switch vocations and the wackier the better. Throw in a third-hand van, a delivery dog, baking day with Daphne, and CUPCAKES! and away we go."
Mister Dash and the cupcake Calamity is an entertaining read that children will enjoy revisiting time and time again. I have my fingers crossed that there will be more adventures with the fanciful Mister Dash!