Fortune Cookie by Jean Ure

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Fortune Cookie by Jean Ure

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A story about friendship, pets and a plan to raise money which isn't quite honest. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: January 2009
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007224623

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Fudge Cassidy and the Cupcake kid are best friends. If the names remind you of a certain film then you'd be spot on as that's where Fudge's father got the idea from. They're actually chalk and cheese – Fudge is loud mouthed and opinionated and Cupcake is quiet and thoughtful – but the combination works. They've just started at secondary school and Cupcake has rather a lot on her plate. Her brother Joey has muscular dystrophy and his problems are becoming more obvious. Add to this that her father couldn't cope with the problems and he now has another family. It's just Cupcake, Joey and her mother – and not a lot of money.

It's a puppy who looks as though he might bring a little life into Joey's life. Originally he belonged to Fudge's neighbour and she obviously wasn't particularly happy to have him. Almost in a fit of temper she tells Fudge and Cupcake to take the dog and Cookie the beagle and young Joey bond immediately. There's a cloud on the horizon though. Cookie starts to limp and it's not long before the vet tells Cupcake's mum that he needs an operation and that it will cost £300. The girls set out to raise the money so that Joey and Cookie need not be separated.

I loved this story and even though I'm many times the age of the target group I really needed to find out what happened. Jean Ure has the knack of pulling you into the story and refusing to let go until you've turned the last page. I've often wondered how she does it and I think I might know some of her secrets.

For a start the young people are from families you can relate to. They're people doing their best to have a reasonable life and make ends meet. Money is tight and some families have a lot to cope with – such as sick children and being a single parent. Sometimes a parent has remarried and doesn't see very much of their child. The young people are neither all good nor all bed – they're that mixture that's in all of us. Fudge and Cupcake did their best to raise the money as honestly as they could, but when they had the chance to get all the money in a way that wasn't quite honest – well, let's be fair, it was dishonest – they found the temptation just a little too much particularly as it would benefit Joey so much.

Another secret is that the dilemmas the young people face are ones that most of us have faced at some point. There's the thought that animals are not always healthy and can be expensive to look after. There's the support that you have to give and take within a family unit and that children are not always healthy either. The big moral dilemma is whether or not the end justifies the means when you really need something to happen and the logical conclusion that honesty is always the best policy. Most of all though, it's about the value of friendship.

Not long ago one of our reviewers was chatting to me about children's books and she mentioned Jean Ure. You're safe with Jean Ure, she said, there's absolutely nothing in her books that's inappropriate or that a parent need worry about. You don't have to read the book first. She was absolutely right.

I'd like to thank Jean for sending the book to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then we can also recommend Hunky Dory and Star Crazy Me also by Jean Ure.

Booklists.jpg Fortune Cookie by Jean Ure is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.
Buy Fortune Cookie by Jean Ure at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fortune Cookie by Jean Ure at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Fortune Cookie by Jean Ure at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fortune Cookie by Jean Ure at Amazon.com.


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