Book Title:
Marigold Bakes a Cake
Book Author:
Mike Malbrough
Book Illustrator:
Mike Malbrough
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
July 18th, 2017
Philomel Books
Date Read:
July 10th, 2017
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - thank you!


For fans of Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon... series. Baking the perfect cake is how Marigold spends Mondays. Being messy, noisy, and disruptive in Marigold's kitchen are how one finch, two pigeons, and three loons spend their Mondays!

Marigold the cat loves Mondays, for that is when he bakes cakes! With his favorite recipe in front of him, he rolls up his sleeves and gets down to it. He whips up egg whites . . . Easy. He adds a cup of milk . . . Peasy. The he sprinkles in just a pinch of . . . of finch?! That's not right at all! Neither are the smidgeons of pigeons or the spoonsfull of loons. Clearly a chase is in order! Yet all that leads to is a spectacularly messy kitchen. And no cake.

With a recipe comprised of equal parts humor and charm, author-illustrator Mike Malbrough has cooked up a scrumptious laugh-out-loud addition to the great tradition of interruption books. Perfect for fans of Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken.

My Review

As someone who reads a ton of picture books every year, for a book to really stand out and become an instant favorite, it has to have a wonderful story and illustrations that I can’t get enough of.  Plus, you know – adorable cats as main characters are a plus, too.

So when I picked up Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough, I felt like a little kid again – this perfectly written and illustrated gem became one of the most fun and exciting books that I have come across in such a long time!

Marigold the cat has a great system going – he has a very organized calendar, with his Mondays reserved for his favorite activity – baking delicious cakes!

This particular Monday, he is baking something amazing.  As he begins getting his ingredients ready, he is full of happiness, which only increases the more he breaks eggs, measures out flour, and stirs.  However, when he goes to add another ingredient, he finds himself adding a smidgen…of pigeon?  Once Marigold politely asks the pigeon to leave, he returns to baking, only to find himself accosted by yet another bird – this time a finch!

Hilarity ensues as Marigold attempts to bake his cake and keep is calm, but the birds are having none of it!  So in the end, should he give up baking, or just attempt to teach the birds how to bake, too?

If you or your little ones are cat lovers, this is definitely the book for you.  My seven and four year old daughters absolutely love cats, and they found this book to be one of the funniest they’ve come across yet.  I also love cats, and Mike Malbrough’s illustrations and entertaining story really come to live and deliver a one of a kind picture book that will have you laughing every single time you read!

This is one of the most creative books for kids that I have come across.  It’s filled with humor, colorful illustrations, and an engaging story that kids of all ages will want to jump in on.  I’m an adult and even I found this book to be funny and cute, and it may or may not have earned a place on my personal favorites shelf.  Also, I may or may not read this almost every day, even when the kids aren’t around.

Marigold Bakes a Cake is the perfect book for kids, but it is even better for adults who want to remember what it is like to be entertained by a sweet, funny story and delightful pictures that will brighten your spirits in a heartbeat.

1. Where did you come up with the idea for Marigold Bakes a Cake?
Marigold started as a character design  for my portfolio as requested by my agent, Lori Kilkelly. Once I was finished it we both fell in love with the little fur ball. Then it was a matter of building a story around him that seemed to fit his personality.

2. Did you have input from your kids while you were creating Marigold Bakes a Cake?
My kids are always steering my ideas. Initially, I can tell if I’m onto something if I explain it to my 8 year-old son and he informs me that he wants to make his own version of the story.

3. Can you tell us a funny story about your cat, Agnes?
My evidence for her distain for me is that I will do everything to try to woe her into my lap, (comfy blanket, treats, etc.), and she would prefer to balance her massive, fluffy frame onto the smallest available lap that my wife has to offer. The only time she forgets that she hates me is at 4:30 in the morning when she wakes me up to watch her eat. Not feed her, mind you. She has food. She just wants company and doesn’t bug anyone else.

Interestingly enough, I think that she has caught on that I have a book coming out because she has gotten a lot more friendly.

4. What is the most rewarding part of writing and illustrating a picture book?
It’s amazing to collaborate with others all trying to get the best out of your work. My publisher has been amazing, my art director, publicist, agent, and all of my peers. It’s very humbling to have so many caring and intelligent people rooting for your little doodles and words.

5. Do you have any plans for writing more picture books?
Yes! I am working on the sequel to MARIGOLD BAKES A CAKE for next summer and having a ton of fun with some other new ideas. I am also illustrating a Chapter Book series called WAREN and DRAGON written by the amazingly talented Ariel Bernstein. They will be published by Viking Children’s Books in the summer of 2018.

6. Finally, what kind of cake is your all-time favorite?
I like just about anything really. Anything with chocolate ganache is amazing, and who doesn’t like strawberry short cake? My personal favorite dessert however is key lime pie.

My name is Mike Malbrough and I make books for kids. 

Before my career as a writer-illustrator, I was a freelance graphic designer, comic book artist, performer and teacher with a career spanning two decades. I am the director of ORNG Ink, an after-school studio for young artists, and have received several awards and honors for my work in the community with children and teens.

I live in Orange, NJ with my wife, two adventurous kids, and a cat named Agnes that hates me.

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4 Responses to Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough – Review and Author Q&A

  1. This looks like such a fun story! I was sold when I read for fans of Don’t Let the Pigeon. I love those books and I think that I have bought one for every kid I know. I also love your interview questions. It is always interesting to read about how authors create their stories, especially when they are typically image-based. I will have to look for this one! 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      I have to agree about the Don’t Let the Pigeon books – they’re so cute and I really love them! My kids have so many books and it’s rare that I come across one that’s so awesome – this is definitely one of those to add to your book giving list for kids!

  2. How adorable! Strawberry shortcake is a favorite of mine too!
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