Saturday, September 6, 2014
Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you an adorable book for middle grade readers.
CUPCAKE COUSINS by Kate Hannigan is just a precious book for middle grade readers. It has fantastic characters, some humorous situations, recipes, and even a few special messages. I think young girls (ages 9 to 12) are going to love it!
CUPCAKE COUSINS tells the story of two cousins (who just happen to be best friends too!), Willow and Delia. Their families meet every summer at a lake house; however, this summer is different. Willow and Delia's aunt is getting married and the girls are her flower girls. Not surprising, the girls think they are too old to be flower girls (and hate the Pepto Bismol colored dresses) and want to help with the wedding in other ways -- namely preparing some of the food!
The girls have plans to prove their value in the kitchen, but things quickly go wrong -- as they would with 10 year olds cooking! Not only do the girls make some pretty big mistakes/messes in the kitchen, but the owner of the lake house hired a new caterer who doesn't exactly appreciate the help. Can the girls convince everyone that their real value lies in catering and not being flower girls?
I thought CUPCAKE COUSINS was delightful and perfect for late elementary age girls. Willow and Delia are terrific characters whose hearts are in the right place even if their kitchen skills aren't always up to par. These girls might, at first, appear to only care about having to wear an ugly (and babyish) dress; however, the reader will quickly realize that they are kind, sensitive girls.
There are quite a few positive things about CUPCAKE COUSINS which make it a book that kids and parents alike will appreciate. First of all, this book is pretty funny. Willow and Delia not only get themselves into some sticky situations in the kitchen, but Willow's younger brother and her dog also add to the silly scenes with their antics.
In addition, I loved that food was a big theme in this book. I am always attracted to foodie books, and I imagine that there are many kids out there the same way. Not only were Willow and Delia interested in baking and cooking, but they were eager to try out recipes -- sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn't. I loved that the book conveyed that it's okay to make mistakes and to learn from them. I also really liked that this book included some simple recipes with step-by-step instructions.
Finally, another thing that made CUPCAKE COUSINS special was just how deep the story was. Based on the cover and adorable artwork, this book might seem to be a light, fun read for kids. And it was! However, this novel also explored some difficult issues that many kids might face including parents who aren't getting along and an adult who loses their job. Both of these issues were handled in a great manner, showing kids that it's normal to be concerned about your parents. As a mom, I especially liked that these two girls had a strong enough friendship that they could talk about their concerns with each other.
CUPCAKE COUSINS would make a wonderful selection for a mother/daughter book club. There are some great messages about family and friendship which would be interesting to discuss, and there's also some awesome recipes for food to serve at your meeting.
CUPCAKE COUSINS is the first in, what I think, should be a popular series for middle grade girls. Highly recommended!
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.
If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!