Review: Bake Sale by Sara Varon

bake sale

Bake Sale by Sara Varon

Cupcake owns a bakery and his life has a certain routine to it.  Wake up at 6:30 am, head to the bakery, bake, and then open the shop at 9:00 am, work until 4:00 pm, then spend time with his friend, Eggplant.  Eggplant is planning a trip to Turkey to visit his family, who happen to know the very famous chef, Turkish Delight.  When Eggplant invites Cupcake to join him on the trip, Cupcake has to work hard to make more money and pay for it.  As he tries new things, his delight in baking returns.  Perhaps the solution to his struggles is closer to home than he thought!

Varon is the author of the very successful, Robot Dreams.  While this graphic novel doesn’t have the power of that book, it is still a great read that children will respond to.  The book also includes seven recipes for food that Cupcake makes in the book.  All of Varon’s books have a winning quirkiness to them.  Here you have Cupcake who creates cupcakes for other people to eat.  A bit strange, but that’s what makes Varon’s worlds so intriguing.

Her illustrations are just as clear and charming as always.   The characters are expressive, funny and interesting. The text is fanciful and fun, often meandering a bit rather than driving the story forward.  It reads and seems as if readers are really looking at Cupcake’s life.

A whimsical graphic novel that is not too sugary at all.  Appropriate for ages 8-12.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

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Review: Brownie & Pearl Take a Dip by Cynthia Rylant


Brownie & Pearl Take a Dip by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brian Biggs

It’s a very hot day.  After sitting in front of the fan with lemonade, Brownie and Pearl decide to head for the pool.  Time for swimsuits, a beach ball and sunglasses.  They head to their small pool that is just the right size for both of them.  It feels so nice, but then Pearl leans in a little too close and gets a lot wetter than she wanted to.  In the end, it still feels nice to have a dip, but also nice to spend time drying out in the sun.

Rylant has created a very cheery series for toddlers.  Brownie and her pet cat Pearl have small adventures that very young children will relate to and understand.  Rylant has an ear for simplicity in her writing, creating a book that is simple but tells a full story.

Biggs’ illustrations are equally warm and friendly.  They are large, bright and warm.  The colors are rich and vibrant, creating a book that would work well for a group of toddlers as well as one-on-one.

A great pick for a hot summer day, this book will be enjoyed by children ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

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