I love writing book reviews. I also love cooking and raised a son who loves cooking, so much in fact that he became a chef! So when a friend of mine recommended a children's fiction chapter book about a girl and cooking, I ordered it from Amazon right there amidst my appetizer at dinner!
“All Four Stars,” by Tara Dairman is the first in a series about Gladys Gatsby, an 11-year old who loves cooking and writing and wants to become a food critic. The problem is her parents don't understand food, cooking or healthy eating and have banned her from cooking in the kitchen. Gladys is distraught but soon finds herself on a culinary adventure that brings her new friendships, tastes and fun in her fictional home town on Long Island, NY.
Ms. Dairman uses Gladys' voice to tell the story and boy, did she get an 11-year olds voice right down to the “fudge.” Her descriptive writing makes your mouth water while reading about the sites, smells and tastes in Gladys' life. I cared about Gladys and her dilemma, and wanted to keep reading to find out what happens.
If you have an aspiring chef in the house, boy or girl, between the ages 8 and 11, this book is one not to be missed!
I finished 2 great Middle grade novels recently and I wanted to review them for you. So here are the Middle grade novels reviewed.
The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford
This middle grade novel takes place during the War of 1812, between the US and Great Britain. The heroine, Lucy Bluecrowne was raised on the sea by her father, Captain Bluecrowne and captain of the Left Handed Fate. Hired by Max Ault, they are on a mission to capture the pieces of an ancient engine renown as a weapon of war. But there's other people in other countries who also want to find the hidden items to make the engine themselves.
The tale woven by author Kate Milford is one of fantasy, adventure, daring and courage. This book is one of a series by Ms. Milford, the others I haven't read. I was drawn to the book because of the title and the historical reference. I'm left handed myself and was intrigued by the references to the superstitions held in that day by sea going workers.
The book kept me interested the entire read. Many times I was afraid for the main characters as I got to know them and saw them in danger. As I'm not very sea going myself, some of the terminology was beyond my comprehension but I was still interested in the story.
You and/or your child will love this book if you like historical fiction, adventure and fantasy. It's that all rolled into one. A little bit of magic and mysticism helped move the plot along.
A Rambler Steals Home by Carter Higgins
Last month, I did a reading at my kids' elementary school. I hadn't been back in many years and there was a new Librarian there, Carter Higgins. When she told me that she had her first novel coming out at the end of that month, I immediately pre-ordered it on Amazon.
“A Rambler Steals Home” is the story of a girl, Derby Clark who lives with her father and younger brother in an RV and spends every summer in a town called Ridge Creek (Virginia) grilling hamburgers after the local minor league baseball game. It's a sweet story with a very distinctive voice. Derby's character is deeply written and show up in her accent, her thinking and her actions. Higgins is a talented writer and portrays Derby's summer filled with traditions, old and new friends, sadness and lessons learned.
I got to know each character's personality, their quirks and their voice and you get to know the relationships between each character. I cared about each one and was intrigued as to how the story would end.
You and/or your child will love this book if you like a female heroine, baseball and good writing.