We love Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa. I’ve always had a thing for little tiny people living in the big world and for things that should be little being huge — I read all of The Littles books when I was a kid, and I love Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. And my son loves construction trucks and cracking eggs and he also loves cake. So, between the two of us, we can happily read Who Made This Cake? over and over.
Inside this book is a magical world where hundreds of industrious, playful tiny people use construction equipment to bake a birthday cake for a little boy while he is off at the toy store with his parents. They set up ramps and deliver dump trucks full of flour and sugar and baking power to a mixing bowl, and they crack eggs with an impact hammer attachment on an excavator. They cart the egg shells off the ramp on flat bed trucks, and then they mix the batter with what may be fictional beater attachements on excavators. (Remarkably, most of the other equipment looks like miniature versions of things my son and I have seen on construction sites or non-fiction books.) They pump the batter into the baking pan using trucks and hoses a lot like the ones we see pumping cement at construction sites around town. While the cake is baking, the little people — who might possibly be children, or just child-like — order smoothies from food trucks and visit and play guitar and take naps. When the cake is ready to be frosted, they mix whipped cream in cement mixers and pump it onto the cake using cement pump trucks. A tiny helicopter delivers a “Happy Birthday” sign. When the boy comes home from his birthday shopping trip, you can see the little people watching from the window ledge as his mom brings the cake to the table, and the construction machines they used are his toys, which have been put back in the living room. On the end page, they all spread out outside to sing and paint and read books and play soccer and basketball and violin or to just walk and talk together. It’s a joyful book that makes me feel like the world is good and beautiful and full of possibility.