From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1–Tina wants nothing more than to win the Cream of the Top Cupcake contest, but she hasn't found the picture-perfect topping yet. Her parents assure her that she can compete next year but Tina will hear none of it. In fact, she is so blinded by her need to win that she refuses to play the cupcake-in-waiting role as helper. After being teased by a classmate, she finds inspiration and runs out to create the topping that looks just right on her. Tina arrives at the contest moments before the winner is to be announced and the judge is so dazzled by her beauty that he immediately crowns her Queen. The characters are drawn as people with cupcakes on their heads, tinted in an eye-pleasing, though sickeningly sweet palette of pastels. A few recipes by Howard, an award-winning pastry chef, are included, but kids who want to re-create the characters will be disappointed by the lack of matching topping recipes. Overall this one looks about as appealing as the plethora of pink mass-market books targeting girls, and it reads about the same.–Heather Acerro, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, INα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
At the Gingersnap Academy for Rising Cupcakes, it’s time for the Cream of the Crop Cupcake contest. All the cupcake children are sporting elaborate toppings, including Candyce Cremiere, frosted in spicy buttercream, and berry-topped Billy Barry Blue. Tina Cocolina, though, can’t find her perfect topping. But just when all seems hopeless, inspiration happily arrives, bringing an unexpected, sweet surprise. Though the characters are called “cupcakes,” only the ever-present, hat-like cupcakes crowning their heads—all diverse and fancifully illustrated—convey the concept. In the dense but sympathetic narrative, the authors touch on hot-button, mean-girl issues in scenes of Tina feeling left out and discouraged. But whimsy is really the driving force here, a tone that’s extended in the cheerful, candy-colored illustrations featuring swirly, fanciful details and patterns, reminiscent of Mary Engelbreit’s work. This is an entertaining title with a supportive, encouraging message that taps into the current cupcake renaissance, and many kids will want to move on to the appended cupcake and frosting recipes. Grades 1-3. --Shelle Rosenfeld
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