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The Magic Cake Shop Hardcover – October 25, 2011
About the Author
MEIKA HASHIMOTO's first baking foray was a chocolate cake. She was eight years old and, in her excitement, forgot a few key ingredients like sugar and baking powder. She also left the cake in the oven for far too long. Although it resembled a brick, her parents politely ate it and gave her very encouraging feedback. Meika's baking techniques have improved greatly since then. When she's not kneading bread dough or baking cheesecakes she can be found editing children's books.
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Top Customer Reviews
What they don't talk about is their daughter Emma, who is neither polished nor beautiful. They put her on a diet and everything, but the child is grubby. She is also interested in starving children in far-off countries and other topics that have no appeal whatsoever for the Burblees. Emma even wants to learn to bake fattening desserts! After she embarrasses her parents at a dinner party supposedly held in honor of her tenth birthday, they send her off to live with her awful Uncle Simon.
Simon has a Roald Dahl pedigree, as well. (Think The Magic Finger.) He loves to hunt and kill small animals. He loves to make Emma's life miserable, too. She has to cook and clean for him. Cooking usually means making "backyard stew," composed of squirrels and songbirds Simon has slaughtered. Except--Emma discovers a wonderful cake shop when her uncle sends her out to get huge amounts of pastries (for him, not her).
To Emma's delight, magical baker Mr. Crackle takes her under his wing. Other people in the town of Nummington also reach out to her with kindness, and Emma begins to feel cared for for the first time. She is beginning to be truly happy when an evil stranger shows up at Uncle Simon's house. He has plans that will make a lot of money, but he intends to use Mr. Crackle for his unpleasant schemes. To protect Mr. Crackle, Emma interferes with their plans, only to watch them come up with a new and more horrible plan that will involve the gifted baker, anyway.
Not that these two villains are a match for Emma and Mr. Crackle--but before they win the day, things will get rather poisonous.
Hashimoto has a clean and upbeat style as she tells a delicious little story of villains and magical pastry making for younger readers. I think 7- to 9-year-olds would be the best audience for this one. Note that bits and pieces of her plot require some extra suspension of disbelief, but who cares? All I know is I want a magic cake shop in my town!
This was the first real chapter book my 8yo niece read because she wanted to get to the end of the story faster than we were able to reading each night. She enjoyed it enough that we bought a copy for the school library so they could find the reading level and she could take the AR test.