Each One Special
Ben’s friend Harry is a professional cake-decorator, and each of his marvelous creations is special, eliciting oohs and ahhs from customers and passers-by. But when the bakery is sold to a new company bent on sameness and efficiency, Harry is out of a job. Although he attempts several leisure activities unsuccessfully, he eventually ends up in front of that abyss of retirement, the television. His despondency worries his wife, but it is young Ben who saves the day. Somewhat by accident, the boy discovers a way to lift Harry’s spirits and send him on a new career path that utilizes his unique style and special skill.
Wishinsky, author of the highly successful Oonga Boonga has deftly woven some serious themes (corporate takeovers and retirement ennui) into a humorous, sweet story. Zimmermann’s illustrations are as exuberant and messy as Harry himself, and just as delightful. Especially fun is the picture showing his first attempt at making a clay cowboy. (It comes out as a buttercream rose.)
Children and adults will relate to Harry and Ben, covered first with icing and later with clay, discovering the joy of creativity and theimportance of friendship. It may be a cliché, but Each One Special really takes the cake.