Anyone for cupcakes? How about a pie? These tasty books about young bakers pair treats with rules to live by.
Close To Famous
by Joan Bauer
ISBN: 978 0 670 01282 4
Audience: grade 6 and up, maybe a mature grade 5
Foster and her mom leave town fast to get away from a sleazy, abusive boyfriend, and settle in Culpepper, where they find a few kind people, and Foster quickly sets about winning people over with her baking. Soon, she has established a little cupcake business and made some friends, and of course, she keeps practicing for the baking show she’d like to have one day. She lives by the advice of her favourite celebrity chef and her own good sense, and by the end, she has won over pretty much everyone with her cupcakes, just in time to need their help.
This book mixes some serious topics and hard times with the cozy, sweet world of cupcakes and dreams of fame to good effect. It’s a little cute and unbelievable in places, a sort of more grown-up version of Because of Winn-Dixie, but with cupcakes instead of a dog, but it’s good for grades 5-10, as it crosses over from children’s to early teens for junior bakers or those who want a little bit of sweetness in their reading.
Easy as Pie
Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN: 978 0 374 39929 0
Audience: ages 3-8
Jacob sits down to his favourite show – Baking with Chef Monty – after school one day, and gets inspired to make a pie when he sees that there are peaches in the fridge as well as happiness in his heart.
His family has plans to go out, though, and while they get ready, they check on him and his pie, as they become later and later. Unperturbed, Jacob carefully goes on constructing his perfect pie, following the chef’s rules for baking as he goes. The family waits, and they all enjoy his pie together.
It’s a quirky little book about a quirky little boy, and the package is just delightful, with jaunty illustrations to match. Both he and his pie are sweet, his family is patient, and the whole thing radiates with warmth and love. It turns out that Chef Monty’s rules are as good for life as they are for baking.