Friday, April 20, 2012

Bake Sale by Sara Varon


First off, I have to say that this book is most definitely not for young adults! In the book’s description on Amazon, the age level is listed as 8 and up and the grade level as 3rd and up (and I would actually argue younger). So, now that’s out of the way, I can continue onto my review of this children’s book.

Bake Sale, by Sara Varon, is centered around a baker named Cupcake, who owns Sweet Tooth Bakery. He also happens to be a cupcake himself--ironic? He’s got a best friend named Eggplant (any guesses as to what he is?...). As days go by, Cupcake finds himself in a rut, bored with baking the same old treats everyday. Due to this slump, his usual coffee he once proudly served fresh every morning has now turned into leftover day-old brew along with old, stale baked goods. He needs a pick-me-up or else his bakery won’t be in business long.

One day, Eggplant tells Cupcake about a trip he will be going on to visit his aunt in Turkey. He also mentions he will also see his aunt’s business partner, Turkish Delight. “Turkish Delight!?,” Cupcake exclaims with hearts beginning to radiate out of his frosting head. Turkish Delight is a very famous pastry chef and highly admired by Cupcake. If only he could meet her and learn some inspired new recipes, this could save his bakery. 

To earn money for the trip, Cupcake tirelessly begins selling his treats at events, opening the bakery early and closing up late. When he finally raises enough money, an incident causes Eggplant to lose his own money to go. Being the good friend he is, Cupcake offers him his ticket and puts Eggplant before himself. Though, after sacrificing his ticket, a new opportunity arises for Cupcake that can make his dreams come true after all.

Judging this as a book for a 2nd or 3rd grade level, I think it is a sweet story of friendship and learning what matters most in life. The illustrations are very cute and the colors are bright and engaging. At the end of the book, a small section titled “Cupcake’s Repertoire” shows actual recipes of some treats mentioned throughout the story (including peppermint brownies, Cupcake’s famous raspberry squares and, of course, vanilla cupcakes).

Though I feel children over the ages of 8 or 9 may find this book to be too “little kiddish”, I can appreciate it as a 23 year old adult. My only complaint is after reading 150 pages about a cupcake and his journey, I now I am left with an overwhelming craving for cupcakes... 

5 comments:

amberK said...

I have to say, this book looks adorable! I want to pick it up for my five-year-old cousin. Your summary makes the book sound so sweet, and not just because it is about cupcakes; the theme/moral of the story sounds like it would be a good lesson for all kids to learn, and some adults too!

runner4life23 said...

Sounds like a great read Sarah. I really enjoyed your review and now you have left me with a sweet tooth for a cupcake as well. This book, although meant for a younger audience, definitely involves those matters of friendship and to keep going no matter what. Glad to see that the book can engage students with talk of baked goods, but ultimately teach them a lesson. The recipes in the back serve as a great "reward" for students that finish the book. Maybe an activity that they can do with their friends :)

Cessacolypse said...

Sounds like a dream for Martha Stewart...or any obsessed goodies-baking person...have you tried the recipes yourself yet?

Sarah Rau said...

I haven't tried any of the recipes, but do love to bake. Actually, while reading reviews of the book to see what other's thought, one guy didn't particularly enjoy the book. He said he would still try the peppermint brownie recipe. There was an update a few days later bumping his review from from 2 stars to 3, saying they were the "best f-ing brownies he's ever had" and were so good, the book deserves another star just on their behalf!

Tom Philion said...

Hi Sarah--well done with the review. from what I can see online, the appeal goes beyond children to adults and teens, part of the graphic novel allure.