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Reviewed by:
  • Breadcrumbs and: Bake Sale
  • Elizabeth Bush
Ursu, Anne. Breadcrumbs; illus. by Erin McGuire. Walden Pond/HarperCollins, 2011. [336]p. ISBN 978-0-06-201505-1 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 4–7.
Varon, Sara. Bake Sale; written and illus. by Sara Varon. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 158p. Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-59643-740-1 $19.99 Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-59643-419-6 $16.99 Ad Gr. 4–6.

See this month's Big Picture, p. 67, for review.

Cupcake has a modest but thriving bakery, a loyal customer base, a gig as drummer in a local band, and a good friend, Eggplant. This should be enough to keep him content, even happy, but dissatisfaction creeps into his life when he discovers that Eggplant has a personal connection (through an aunt in Istanbul) with world-renowned baker Turkish Delight. Suddenly Cupcake has lost enthusiasm for his favorite bakery offerings, he drops out of the band, and all he can concentrate on is accumulating enough money to accompany Eggplant on an overseas trip to meet his idol. Although Cupcake never makes it to Turkey (having used his own money to fund Eggplant’s trip instead), his friend returns with spices from Turkish Delight, and soon the buddies are whipping up innovative culinary pleasures to enter the Exotic Baked Goods Contest. Varon’s switch from a city populated by animals to one inhabited by foodstuffs (which do, however, keep pets) is largely successful, with spindly limbs and google eyes as expressive on vegetables as on cats and dogs. [End Page 114] Her reliance on dialogue in this title, however, is a bit of a letdown following her richly imagined silent stories (Robot Dreams 11/07, Chicken and Cat, BCCB 3/06), with a more mundane tone and less sheer creative inspiration. She also misses opportunities to explore promising situations: for instance, an extended scene in a Turkish bathhouse, which should be replete with tragi-comic possibilities for its comestible patrons, results only in Cupcake’s paper wrapper coming a bit loose. While this title may end up becoming a gift book exchanged between adult baking enthusiasts, there’s enough weight to the friendship story to satisfy established Varon fans. Recipes for some of Cupcake’s featured efforts are appended.



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pp. 114-115
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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