Mud Book by John Cage

Mud Book by John Cage

Mud Book: How to Make Pies and Cakes by John Cage and Lois Long (9781616895525, Amazon)

This book dates from the 1950s. Created by avant-garde composer Cage and artist Long, this book looks at mud pies as one of the first creative and maker experiences of children. The book is presented as the simplest of cookbooks. It begins with a recipe for mud pies that involves dirt, water and sunshine. There are tips on what to do if your mixture is too wet too. The book then turns to a much more complicated recipe for mud layer cake that involves pans, rocks and more. Exactly what any youngster needs to design their own pies and cakes into masterpieces.

This book shows the joy of playing in the mud and dirt. The illustrations by Long are filled with dabs and dribbles of muddy color, looking exactly like dirt on the page. There’s a looseness to the illustrations that plays nicely against the instructions which are serious in tone and still inviting for exploration.

This is a joy of a book that is part art and part how-to manual and all fun. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.