When Alice’s Aunt Polly dies, the entire community of Ipswitch feels the loss. Polly, the Pie Queen, left behind quite a void, one that had been filled by her pie shop and her incredible gift for baking pies. Every resident had a favorite and with her death, they knew they would never taste them again. But for Alice it is much worse, she has lost one of her dearest friends as well as the shop where she spent much of her time. Her Aunt Polly left the recipe for her award-winning pie crust to Lardo, her ornery cat, and she left Lardo to Alice. No one is really sure how someone can leave a recipe to a cat. As the days pass, strange things start happening, but only Alice seems to notice. She knows there is someone out there trying to get their hands on the recipe. With her new friend, Charlie, Alice is determined to solve the mystery.
Weeks has written a book as light as meringue but that has plenty of depth as well. The story is great fun to read. It has the tang of a mystery combined with the sweetness of pie. The pie recipes shared at the beginning of each chapter will have you drooling and determined to see if you could maybe be the next Blueberry Award winner.
Notice how that rhymes with Newbery Award winner? Weeks has a lot of fun with her brief description of how the Blueberry Award is announced. It closely resembles the Newbery Award process and had me giggling. It’s a great insider joke to have in a children’s book.
Alice is a strong character, struggling with the loss of her aunt. She is determined, creative and imaginative, singing little songs to herself all the time. These are the things her aunt supported in her, but that her own mother doesn’t understand. The family dynamic is an important piece of the entire book and is written with great honesty.
A delicious, fun read, this book of pie and mystery is a treat whether read with alamode or alone. It’s an ideal book for classroom sharing as well, after all who doesn’t like pie? Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic Press.
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