Littlewood, Kathryn. Bliss.
14 February 2012, The Inkhouse
Rosemary's family runs a bakery that they claim ISN'T magic, although after ingesting their various pastries, people always feel better. The mayor of a neighboring town wants her parents to come and bake something to ward off the summer flu, and the parents take off, leaving the bakery assistant and the Bliss siblings in charge. When their glamorous "aunt" Lily arrives, the children all rethink using their parents secret magic cookbook. Lily is estranged from the family and has an ulterior motive, but uses her own magic to get the children sucked in to the idea of using magic. When they attempt some of the recipes, a chain of mishaps occur. Can Rosemary do the right thing and use the magic for good rather than for evil?
Strengths: This is better than other magic baking books that I have read (which I can't find reviewed), and did move along quickly and amusingly. There is a sequel, A Dash of Magic, coming out in January. Am debating purchase.
Weaknesses: Like Mull's The Candy Shop Wars, this freaked me out a bit. This had the same air of "No! Don't drink the Kool Aid!" that disturbed me so with the Mull title. Which the students love. Hard to believe I've had it almost six years!
Vanilli, Lily. A Zombie Ate My Cupcake.
1 August 2011, Cico
Well, this was just kind of gross, so the students would like it. Why I won't buy it? Tiniest print imaginable, and such a small book that it is sure to get lost behind the bigger cookbooks. Seriously, this is 5 and 1/2 by 6 and 1/2 inches, and the recipes are in about 6 point font. It's also a British book, so proceed carefully before buying it for a school library in the US.
We'll see how Zombigami: Paper Folding for the Living Dead by Duy Nguyen is. Sigh.
Rau, Dana Meachen. A Teen Guide to Fast, Delicious Lunches
1 January 2011, Compass Point Books
This series also includes books with recipes for breakfasts, dinners and snacks. The background information about nutrition, packing lunches, allergic and vegetarian choices was all good, but I wonder if the food is something students will eat. I have the world's pickiest eaters, so it's hard for me to tell. Interesting that the students in the pictures are high school aged. If cookbooks are popular in your middle school library, these would be a good purchase, but they strike me as too simple for high school and too "weird" for elementary. These would be a great public library purchase.