The first thing I noticed about The Cake Thief was its outrageously wonderful cover art. Even though Sally O. Lee's illustrative style is fairly new to me, the cover art felt familiar -- in a good way. And since familiar-feeling books often make such such good friends, this book was definitely worth reading.
The Cake Thief is a sweet story (bad pun fully intended). Clarence, the cake thief, is a lonely boy who lives in a grey house with a purple door. What he does like to do, however, is steal cakes. He doesn't gorge on them, though. He collects them. They become something more to him than food. They become, in a strange sort of way, his friends, or at least a relief from his loneliness. One day, under a cake cover, he finds something better than a cake. And his life changes.
Back to the artwork. The illustrations within the wonderful covers is equally glorious. And familiar. Then finally I worked it out -- the style reminds of, and sometimes suggests, James Thurber (in an homage and not a rip-off sort of way), and the saturated jewel tones remind me of Louis Slobodkin. And, altogether, the results are purely Sally O. Lee.