by Kathryn Littlewood
Ever felt… just average?
Ty’s good looks bewitch everyone in the high school. Sage makes everyone laugh. Leigh can get away with anything. Ah, but Rose, the second child and oldest daughter? She faithfully helps her parents. That’s it.
Rose’s parents run the Bliss Family Bakery. Everyone in town loves their products. They’ll even claim the food is magical.
They don’t know they’re right.
Rose’s parents help out with a pinch of sunshine and a dash of laughter, or even a few whispers from the Gnome of Perpetual Sleep. When someone has a broken heart, or a moment of despair, or even when they get stuck in a rut – they’re there with the perfect baked treat.
But Rose’s parents don’t want her learning any of that. Not yet. She’s only twelve. Time enough soon.
Until an emergency calls Rose’s parents out of town and they leave her in charge of the bakery. No magic recipes, they order, and off they fly.
But Rose could prove to her parents she can handle a little magic, right?
Soon love muffins and cookies of truth are causing disasters all over town. Good thing Aunt Lily chose just that moment to visit.
…unless she’s just after the magical cookbook that keeps the family together.
Littlewood created a fun setting. A magical bakery nestled in small-town modern day America? How delightful! An average girl trying to figure out who she is? Sure, that may be a touch cliché for a main character, but Rose makes a great point-of-view character and someone you can sympathize so easily.
This short novel is perfect for mid to older gradeschoolers. I found it a touch predictable. The adult reader, and many younger readers, will know exactly what’s going on with Aunt Lily within five pages of her arrival. However, Littlewood writes her with such pizzazz, it’s impossible not to like her. In other words, this is a great kid’s book that won’t bore adults.
Bite-sized chapters keep the pace moving through each episode of rising action. While there are numerous plot holes, we don’t get to long enough to notice them as the plot keeps moving along. Characters stay in character as crazy things start happening, and Rose consistently shines as the center of action. She makes a great female protagonist. One of my friends constantly complains that to have a strong female protagonist, you seem to have to bash boys. Rose doesn’t fall into that category. She does have a crush, and Littlewood writes that crush with a keen eye. She’s a strong character, though, and the crush drives very little of the plot (though it is still there!). Rose wants to find herself, and her answer isn’t in her prospective boyfriend. She finds the answer in a very satisfying place that doesn’t bash any romantic aspirations.
If you get the chance, check out this book. The recipes are fun (though I question if they’d actually make anything tasty), and the character interactions leap off the page. Teachers especially, take a look and see if this book would fit in your classroom!