Posted in Cakes, Children's Books, Cookery, Humour, Illustrations, Recipe

‘Freddie’s Amazing Bakery: The Great Raspberry Mix-Up’ by Harriet Whitehorn and Alex G Griffiths


Freddie’s Amazing Bakery: The Great Raspberry Mix-Up’

Cake-lover and amazing baker Freddie Bonbon is the nicest boy in town. Along with his best friend Amira, he sells cakes, croissants and tarts at his popular bakery. When hotel owner Mrs van de Lune announces a baking competition, Freddie is determined to win – especially as he could use the prize money to buy a new oven. But Freddie isn’t the only one entering the competition – bad-tempered baker Bernard Macaroon plots to discover Freddie’s recipe and has a few tricks up his sleeve to stop the canny cake-maker from winning the competition.

Along with dozens of age-appropriate illustrations by Alex G Griffiths, Harriet Whitehorn creates a charming tale of baking rivalry, friendship and community spirit. Having said that, the story is scarcely original, with an ending that’s painfully obvious. Though entertainingly told, even the glossary of baking terms and the raspberry cupcake recipe at the back, add little to shout about.

A nice little book that should have been more interesting than it is.


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Posted in Adventure, Children's Books, Humour, War

‘Carrie’s War’ by Nina Bawden


Carrie’s War

 

Visiting the wartime village where she and her younger brother were billeted following the evacuation from London, a grown-up Carrie Willow tells her own children of her adventures. But her memories of the Welsh hills, the surly Mr Evans and his timid sister are marred by something she did following one of her many visits to Druid’s Bottom, where the sickly Mrs Gotobed lived with her housekeeper Hepzibah, the odd Mr Johnny and another evacuee, Albert.

I had vague memories of having read this years ago but must have imagined it, as the book was entirely new to me. I read it in one sitting and loved the atmosphere, the strange mix of characters and the slightly sinister plot line that bubbles away on the backburner throughout the book. Nina Bawden’s characters, particularly the mysterious Hepzibah and the bullying Mr Evans, are beautifully drawn, entirely realistic and, ultimately, thoroughly endearing. The ending had me on the edge of my seat and left me in tears, (which doesn’t happen often).

An absolute delight from start to finish.


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Posted in Cakes, Children's Books, Cookery, Review

‘Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River Story and Cookbook’ by Robbie Cheadle and Michael Cheadle

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River Story and Cookbook

 
 
Sir Chocolate loves to go fishing in the Condensed Milk River, but when the river stops flowing, Sir Choc and Lady Sweet set off to investigate.

This is another of Robbie Cheadle’s delightful little books featuring the adventures of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet. As usual, the paperback version of the book is illustrated with colour photos of Robbie’s wonderful fondant art creations. The rhyming story is lovely and the recipes (including Marshmallow Flowers and Crunchies) sound absolutely yummy.

A great way of getting kids to experiment with cooking.



 
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Posted in Children's Books, Humour, Illustrations, Review

‘Does It Fart?’ by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti


Does it Fart?

 

Posing questions that all children wonder about, Does it Fart? provides the answers in a witty and educational way. From spiders and whales to cheetahs and chimpanzees, we find out who does what, why and when, and for those creatures who don’t fart, we discover what they do instead.

With a title that’ll definitely grab kids’ attention, this is an interesting and amusing book that mixes education with humour. The illustrations (by Alex Griffiths) are lovely, and I really liked the idea of posing a question (Does a parrot fart?) and then turning the page to find out the answer. The text, however, while very informative, doesn’t quite fit with the style of the illustrations, and suggests the authors (Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti) aren’t totally sure about the age range they’re aiming at. As a book for parents to read to younger children, I’m sure it’ll work well, but only older kids will understand the text if reading themselves.



 
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Posted in Adventure, Children's Books, Review

‘The Wolves of Willoughby Chase’ by Joan Aitken

the-wolves-of-willoughby-chase
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

In an England that never existed, in a time of Victorian values, the country is overrun with wolves. When young Sylvia embarks on a long train journey to stay with her cousin Bonnie, things begin to go wrong very quickly. With Bonnie’s parents leaving for sunnier climes, the girls discover their new governess, the sour-faced Miss Slighcarp, has plans that don’t include her distant relatives. Punishing the girls for apparent misdemeanours, she gets rid of all the faithful servants, retaining only those whose outlook is as harsh as her own.

Joan Aiken’s best-known book is written in a style that evokes the finest in children’s literature. The characters and descriptions are at times a little stereotypical (in the Dickensian tradition of highlighting all that is lacking in society), and the girls’ adventures occasionally skim over a little too quickly. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my first foray into Ms Aiken’s work and will definitely be reading the other books in the Wolves Chronicle series.



 
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Posted in Adventure, Children's Books

‘Akea’ by Elizabeth Jade


Akea

Born into a family of huskies, Akea soon realises that she is no ordinary dog. When the wolf Kazakh begins to visit her, Akea feels strangely drawn towards him and the wolfpack.

Elizabeth Jade is a young author who has a talent for writing stories. She has created a sensitive and heartening story that reminded me a lot of Jack London’s ‘Call of the Wild’. Her writing style is fresh and thoughtful with a good feel for plot and character. I loved the story arc, the language of the huskies and wolves, and the relationship between Akea and Kazakh.

This is a charming tale that promises great things for more adventures – Elizabeth Jade is already working on Akea’s next adventure.

Elizabeth’s website and blog can be seen here.



 
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