Bake Sale Paperback – Aug 30 2011
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Another beautiful homage to friendship. ―Booklist
An offbeat story about the sacrifices made for friends, about the very everydayness of such acts and the pitfalls and pleasures in their wake.― Kirkus Reviews
This book has a will-o’-the-wisp charm and a distinctive, quirky voice.―SLJ
About the Author
Originally from outside Chicago, Sara Varon now resides in Brooklyn, where she likes to bake, and especially eat, baked goods. Fortunately, she is a runner and recreational boxer, so she gets lots of exercise too. Her other books include Robot Dreams, Chicken and Cat, Chicken and Cat Clean Up, and Sweaterweather.
Top Customer Reviews
My only con: open ending
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Cupcake's hope is rekindled when his good friend Eggplant invites him to go to Turkey with him to meet his Aunt Aubergine and Aubergine's business partner, the famous pastry chef Turkish Delight. Cupcake doesn't know how he'll raise the money for his ticket; he doesn't make that much selling cupcakes at the bakery. Eggplant suggests that he could stay open later or sell his cupcakes at special events, but that would mean giving up playing the drums in the band. What's a Cupcake to do?
But when Cupcake's fantasies of meeting the famous pastry chef interfere with his concentration during band practice and intrude on his dreams, he decides that he simply must do what it takes to meet her, so he sacrifices for his dream. He gives up the band and sells cupcakes and other special treats at special events: marzipan animals at the blessing of the animals, cupcakes with British and American flags at a boxing match between British and American contenders, specially-made doggie treats at the dog show and peppermint brownies for Valentine's Day. Finally he has saved enough for his ticket - Eggplant will be so happy. Well, except that Eggplant has run into some difficulty of his own. Again, what's a Cupcake to do?
This story is absolutely delightful. The graphic novel approach will appeal to kids of all ages and genders, whether advanced or reluctant readers. My 4½ year old daughter was absolutely captivated for the whole book - this is by far the longest book she has sat still for. The artwork is well done, engaging and believable, despite the fact that all of the characters are edible. The storyline provides a sweet message about sacrificing for what is important, as well as learning what is important.
And as an added bonus, the book contains several recipes for baked goods which Cupcake makes throughout the story. Most of the recipes appear pretty basic and even a novice and incompetent pastry chef such as myself should be able to make them. I haven't yet tried them yet, but I look forward to making them with my daughter. I will update this review when we've made some. For those of you more skilled and adventurous, the book contains a couple advanced recipes including glazed edible flowers and marzipan animals. Good luck!
The story of Cupcake, his bakeshop and his quest to go with his friend Eggplant to meet a famous baker is the basic tale. Through this we see how small bakeries operate, how creative small business owners struggle to be, and how the person behind that morning coffee or cookie we may treat ourselves to might live beyond their store. Cupcake's emotions and life seem honest if a bit freaky.
Freaky because Varon has created a world in which food is the dominant lifeform. This is freaky on three levels. First, our main characters do not have real names, only what they are -- Eggplant, Cupcake, Potato, Sugar -- and so forth. Apparently there are many of the same kind of food and yet other names are never given. Second, these food people run the full gambit from living veggies and fruits to processed food like Sugar and Turkish Delight. Finally the most freakish aspect is that living food eats, grows, process, and cooks with food. It felt similar to a book about cannibals.
That is likely just me as an adult talking, I but most kids under the age of 12 could just see past that but don't be surprised if sensitive children are confused.
As I mentioned before, the artwork is adorable, but I do find some things kind of funny (or odd). For instance, Cupcake makes a carrot cake, then in the next scene is at a diner run by Carrot... I couldn't help but to hope they didn't kidnap one of Carrot's relatives to make the cake. In Cupcake's defense, the world is populated by food, so it was probably inevitable.
Silliness aside, my daughter does enjoy reading this with me, but she doesn't get quite as into it as she does with other books. She does have enjoy flipping through it on her own to enjoy the artwork. There is a little mini-cookbook in the back that has the recipes Cupcake makes in the book but we haven't made any of them, but it is a nice touch.
I thought this book was very cute, a fast and easy read, and I can't wait to try the recipes it comes with.
I also really like how there are a lot of labels for items drawn in the book, utensils, spices, etc. Great for vocabulary with kids.
The story is about the life of a cupcake who runs a small bakery. His friend, an eggplant, has connections with a famous baker named Turkish Delight who cupcake wants to meet.
The cupcake then raises money by working hard to get a plane ticket to visit Turkish Delight to learn some of the recipes. However, circumstances change and cupcake ends up giving eggplant the money for the trip to visit his aunt and cupcake has to stay home.
It's a bit melancholy when cupcake loses interest in baking and realizes that he has lost his drummer position in their band cause he was working so hard.
In the end, the cupcake and eggplant work together toward winning a plane trip for two anywhere in the world in a baking contest. A hopeful ending for a well illustrated and thoughtful book.
My 1st grader and preschooler like the pictures but some of the finer points are lost on them. I'm sure older kids 3rd grade and up will enjoy this book. I'm not sure if kids would really re-read this book much though.