Sunday, November 29, 2015

All Four Stars / Tara Dairman / 273 pages

Eleven year old Gladys Gatsby loves to cook.  She has been cooking gourmet dishes since she was seven.  She had made 142 recipes from twelve different cookbooks before the Crème Brulee incident ignited the kitchen.  Her allowance is suspended until the  fire damage is all paid off and there is to be "no more cooking, no more cookbooks, and no more cooking TV shows for the next six months.  Her parents want her to start doing some more normal activities for a kid [her] age.  Her cooking had been a secret inspired by her Aunt Lydia who lives in Paris.  Her fast food junkie parents do not understand her fascination with good food.  When Ms. Quincy announces that the class will be participating in the statewide essay competition with a five hundred prize for the best My Future paper, Gladys decides she cannot write about her dream to become the restaurant critic for the New York Standard.  "It would probably cause her classmates to upgrade her status from weird quiet kid to total freak", and it certainly wouldn't please her parents.  Gladys follows her teacher's advice and writes to her passion.  The misdirection of the essay; Gladys's emerging friendships; and her execution of her plan are absolutely delightfully entertaining.  Beware:  This book will make you hungry.

"With a little creativity anything is possible."

Mark Twain Award Preliminary Nominee 2016-17

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