Wednesday, September 17, 2014

All Four Stars, Tara Dairman

Category: Children’s fiction; Cooking & Food

Synopsis: Sixth-grader Gladys Gatsby becomes a restaurant critic.

Date finished: 6 August 2014

Rating: ****

Do you know a little girl who likes to cook? This is the book for her!

Gladys Gatsby likes to cook, bake, and try new recipes. The thing is, her parents think cooking is strange. They prefer to eat and serve fast food. So Gladys does her cooking on the sly. That is, until the day she nearly burns the kitchen down when using her father’s flow torch to finish off a crème brûlée. At which point she’s banned from the kitchen indefinitely.

Still, Gladys goes on to (inadvertently) land a job as a newspaper restaurant critic and has to find a way into the city to sample desserts at an up-and-coming restaurant and file her review. All without her parents suspecting a thing.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of deception going on—and not all of it gets found out. Although I dislike kids’ books that allow dishonesty to stand uncorrected, the book doesn’t flaunt disobedience either.

There are several plot points that are a little hard to take at face value, but I had to keep reminding myself this is children’s literature. Still, some of them bothered me. I’m not sure a twelve-year-old would swallow it whole. An eight-year-old might not have a problem, though.

This book likely won’t become a classic, but if you can suspend disbelief, it’s a fun read.

Would you recommend this to a friend?
For a little girl with an interest in cooking, this might be a slam dunk.

You might also enjoy:
The Year of Billy Miller

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