Baker's Magic by Diane Zahler
|Baker's Magic by Diane Zahler|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A jolly story inspired by fairy tales in which a foundling discovers a magical talent and sets out to save the kingdom from a wicked wizard. We enjoyed it but while it starts strong, it loses a bit of drive as it goes along.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: February 2016|
|Publisher: Curious Fox|
|External links: Author's website|
Bee is an orphan, ill-treated by her foster family. This is why she ran away. When she steals a bun from a baker's shop because she hasn't eaten for days and is caught, her luck finally changers. Because Master Bouts is a kindly man in need of an apprentice. And it turns out that Bee has a talent for baking. She and Master Bouts get along well, the shop starts doing well again, and Bee even makes a friend in Wil. Even better, Bee discovers she possesses a magical power.
But not everything is going so well in the kingdom. The princess is shut away in the palace and nobody ever sees her. Everyone is afraid of the evil mage, Master Joris, who is running the show. Storms are ever more frequent. The people are growing hungry because all the land is devoted to the tulip production that enriches Master Joris. And then Bee discovers an evil plot to marry off the princess to the ruler of a faraway land. If this happens, there will be no hope for the people of Zeewall.
Can Bee's baking magic save the day? She'll need a lot of help...
Baker's Magic is a truly good hearted magical adventure story. The baddie is clearly delineated and the young protagonists are both relatable and heroic. They can see what needs to be done and they both persuade and lead their elders. I loved this aspect of the story. The young are brave! I also enjoyed the clear love for baking that shines through each page. Bee's magic is to put emotions into her cakes and buns and pastries and any enthusiastic home baker will tell you that is something they try to do themselves, even if they don't have any magic to do it with. I haven't read such mouthwatering descriptions of food since the last time I re-read Laura Ingalls Wilder!
But I will say that the book starts off very strongly and loses drive and focus as it goes on. The opening chapters dealing with Bee finding a home with Master Bouts and a friend in Wil set the scene well and invoke strong feelings of solidarity with a lonely orphan. But as the crisis looms and the quest begins, it gets a little too ambitious and at times I felt as if everything in the kitchen sink was being thrown at the story. I could have done with the detail being less busy so that I could concentrate on the plot. But this is a nitpick. Overall, Baker's Magic is a charming story with a little bit of magic and a lot of friendship. It'll find an appreciative readership.
If they haven't read it already, readers may also enjoy Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist by Liz Kessler.
You can read more book reviews or buy Baker's Magic by Diane Zahler at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Baker's Magic by Diane Zahler at Amazon.com.
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