Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: Bliss, Kathryn Littlewood

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 374 (Hardback)
Release: February 2012
Source: Bought
Genre: Middle - grade readers
Good to know: Bliss is Littlewoods debutnovel, and it is the first book in a planned trilogy.You can read an excerpt here.

Rosemary Bliss’s family has a secret. It’s the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Stone Sleep Snickerdoodles and Singing Gingersnaps. Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke under lock and whisk-shaped key while their parents are out of town, but then a mysterious stranger shows up. “Aunt” Lily rides a motorcycle, wears purple sequins, and whips up exotic (but delicious) dishes for dinner. Soon boring, nonmagical recipes feel like life before Aunt Lily—a lot less fun. So Rose and her siblings experi-ment with just a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke.A few Love Muffins and a few dozen Cookies of Truth couldn’t cause too much trouble . . . could they?

Sweet magic

Kathryn Littlewood have written an incredibly cute story about believing in oneself, family ties, loyalty and magic.

Rose' parents, or Rosemary as is her full name,own the Bliss Bakery. Here they make cookies, cakes, breads etc after recepies that have been in the family for generations. Their pastries is very sought after, and there are always a lot to do on the bakery. Rose is ten years old when she discovers that an important ingredient in the pastries is magic.

It was the summer Rosemary Bliss turned ten that she saw her mother fold a lightning bolt into a bowl of batter and learned - beyond the shadow of a doubt - that her parents made magic in the Bliss bakery.

The family lives in the little town Calamity Falls, where their pastries means alot to the other residents. They use food to sove small and big problems for the residents, literally speaking. Old Mr Rook was having trouble with sleepwalking, but after eating Stone Sleep Snickerdoodles, the sleepwalking stopped. The Bliss - family also helps out when a singer has a sore throat, or people get ill.

When the flu hits Humbleton, Rose' parents are asked to travel there to help the people get well. Their almond - croissant are perfect for that. Rose and her brother Ty are left to take care of the bakery, and they are told not to look in the book with all the recipies in it, and mot important of all: not use magic. But Rose and Ty does not do as they were told. They look in the famous cookbook, and goes down to the secret basement where their parents keep a lot of special ingredients. The result: chaos in Calamity Falls.  On top of all of this, they are visited by their aunt Lily - a relative their parents does not keep contact with because of a centuries old familiefeud. Lily seems very interested in the cookbook...

Ty read the recipe out loud: Sir Jasper Bliss did grate one large green squash while chanting the names of lonely customers thrice. Sir Jasper did pass through a metal sieve one fist of flour and one fist of sugar. Sir Jasper did drizzle two acorns of the finest distille Tahitian vanilla over the flour. Then he did fold within the batter one egg of the Masked Lovebird, Agapornis personata, which Sir Jasper did acquire from a mystic who had collected them from the primordial forests of Madagascar.

It is hard not to be charmed by this book. It is really cute, and it is apparent that the author has had a good time whilst writing it. The book have a lot of creative twist and turns, and the recepies are truly original and creative.  I cannot compare the book fully with the Harry Potter - books, but it is not hard to see that Littlewood has the same imagination as do J.K. Rowling.

Rose is a character that many young girls will sympatizes and identify with. She feels that her parents doesn't see her, she is unsure about herself and about her parents love for her. She dreams of a special bou, and about being noticed. During the story she has to figure out if her own self-realization is important, or if she should focus on her family. Rose does not have confidence in herself, and all she wants is to help others and do something useful.
Rose' brother Ty is a little more outgoing, and he happily uses his parents magic recepies to his own gain, but the result is not what he expects at all.

Littlewood deal with a lot of important topics. First of all, this is a coming of age - story, a story about maturing, getting older and the fact that it is quite possible to change without the use of magic. It is about sticking together, about family and loyalty.

I think that this book will appeal to thee target-audience. Bliss is a cute and riveting book, even I got caught up in the story. I also like that the author have given a title to every chapter, and that there are cutre drawings on the first page of every new chapter.

The book has a satisfiying ending, but there is a tiny cliffhanger here which tells us that there will be more books about Rose, her family and the Bliss - bakery. It will not surprise me if these books become a great success. The book is also great for being made into a movie.
But before you do read Bliss, I need to give you a little warning: You may feel a deep craving after cookies and muffins whilst you are reading.

Other reviews:
Book Aunt
Booklady's Booknotes

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