Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sunday Baking

Every weekend I make about three batches of cookies to keep up with the demands of four teenagers who aren't particularly fond of food in general. Chocolate chip and peanut butter are essential (although in Iceland peanut butter is not as big a thing as it is here.), and there's usually another kind as well; this week it was cookie candy, but it's often oatmeal or Snickerdoodles. When an order from the library contained both of these titles, I knew they had to be reviewed together!
Stone, Phoebe. The Boy on Cinnamon Street.
Louise is living with her free spirited grandparents, but she’s not happy. She would rather be in her house on Cinnamon Street with her mother, but her mother has passed away, and her father is living in the city with a new family. She has given up on gymnastics, at which she was a star, and most of her old friends. When she gets a note from a secret admirer, she starts to connect more with some new friends, including Benny, whom she thinks is writing the notes, and Henderson, who is just a good, supportive friend. Joined by Reni, whose family is very supportive of Louise (who decides early on to call herself Thumbelina, since she is very small and no longer feels like Louise), she makes plans for the school dance, tries to figure out which boy likes her, and tries to come to terms with the awful incident in the past that changed her life.
Strengths: This is a quick, enjoyable middle school read by the author of The Romeo and Juliet Code. (But this cover reinforces my belief that the cover of that book was anachronistic!)
Weaknesses: A lot of cultural references doom this one to being dated (note to authors, do not mention Justin Bieber!). While it is clear that the author wrote this one trying to come to terms with her own similar experience, it’s too sad for readers who want a happy romance, which is what the cover makes it look like.

Weeks, Sarah. Pie.
Alice’s Aunt Polly is the very best pie maker in her small town, and has even won multiple Blueberry Awards from her pies, but she gives them away instead of making a huge amount of money. She is very supportive of Alice, so when she dies suddenly, Alice is crushed. The people of the town react in their own ways at the loss, many of them trying (and failing) to bake similar
pies. Alice’s mother is bitter that Polly had such a loyal following and such talent, and when it turns out that the only thing Polly left Alice was her cat Lardo, and she left Lardo the recipe for her pies, the mother is downright angry. When someone kidnaps Lardo, Alice and her friend Charlie try to figure out who is after the recipe.
Strengths: I adore Weeks’ Regular Guy series, and So B. It is one of the few quirky stories that I like. She is a great story teller, and even though I didn’t want to read about pie making in the 1950s, I found myself really enjoying the story. It is also mercifully free of weird names and situations that many authors would have included. (With the exception of the whole Blueberry Award thing, which was an obvious nod to the Newbery. And I can forgive that.)
Weaknesses: I didn’t care for the epilogue, but then I never do, and I wonder if children will find this interesting.Weeks, Sarah. Pie.

1 comment:

  1. I was disappointed in Pie. I felt it lacked the charm although I did enjoy the descriptions. Were you a fan of the Mrs. Coverlet books? For some reason, I was thinking of them when I read this.