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Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.
Summary: Brianna "Bree" Justice has one goal: have her own cupcake cooking show. To get there, she is following Miss Delicious' recipe. First, she needs to be elected Fifth Grade president at Orchard Park Elementary, just like Miss Delicious. Bree had it in the bag until new kid Jasmine Moon decided to give her a little competition. When Jasmine's campaign starts to impact her friendships, Bree decides to change her tactics. Will she stick to the recipe or put her presidency and cooking empire at risk? This middle grade novel offers insight and reflection into dreams, choices, and the journey to those goals.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 and Up; read yourself: 10 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: This novel is fantastic. Children won’t be able to keep their noses out of Sherri Winston’s masterfully woven tale of personal growth. Brianna, along with the rest of the Winston’s cast, have distinct, individual voices. Their personalities complement each other as well as clash, like all real life friendships or rivalries, and the novel showcases the importance of relationships, even for fifth graders. Readers will feel the emotions Brianna feels as she experiences pride, guilt, envy, and humility. They will understand Brianna completely. Winston’s incorporation of cupcake recipes, bold, and font, gives the novel personality. Her plot draws constant analogies between the fifth grade presidential race and United States presidential history, and her audience will come away with knowledge they didn’t even realize they were learning. Winston even manages to break down the importance of philanthropy, introducing this topic to readers likely for the first time.
Adult Reader Reaction: Brianna has a great 'voice' and her feelings / excitement are contagious. Your BFFs ... until Jasmine Moon enters the picture, and then you're not so sure. I thought the jealousy and competition could have been conveyed without taking it to the level of "mean girls." There are plenty of realistic, humorous, and touching moments that make this fun to read and share.
Adult reviewer #2: I thoroughly enjoyed this story and highly recommend it for teacher read-aloud in elementary schools, young readers and teens alike. As youngsters grow, this novel will help them put their friendship drama into perspective and teach a lesson in individual integrity.
Pros: Preteen girls - with our without big dreams - will see themselves in this realistic story that is "yummy."
Cons: Unfortunately, this is likely to be seen as a "girl book." The story is strong and has great characters in different roles (parents, business owners, teachers, friends) that speak to readers of all ages and gender.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. You'll want to make some of the recipes after you read it ... and before you give it to a friend as a "must read."
Educational Themes: This is a perfect book club selection, particularly for readers who like to cook. Although a mother-daughter book club is an obvious choice, this would make an excellent class read aloud, too, as there is lots to discuss about integrity, honesty, choices, and reaching your dreams.
Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up an Advance Review Copy (ARC) this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.