Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher

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Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A classy attempt at creating a new and exciting modern fairy tale. It's pitched slightly wrongly for either younger or older readers, and feels like a missed opportunity, but is still worth a read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: September 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978-0747592310

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Madeleine washes dishes in her uncle's posh restaurant. She occasionally gets a chance to cook too - which she shows a real skill for. Her foul uncle feels threatened by her talent, so he treats her horribly. One day she stumbles across Madame Pamplemousse's hidden, dark, but thrilling shop, which is packed with wonderful food like sea serpent paté, giant squid eyes in balsamic vinegar, and lavender-crusted frogs' legs.

Madame Pamplemousse has all the right ingredients to be a modern classic, but the recipe is a little off. The setting of a magical yet plausible Paris, with food from a spell book by way of Heston Blumenthal, is a new and interesting idea. It won't capture the imagination of most children though: they'll turn their noses up at the incredible edibles as much as they will at Monsieur Lard's flabby and nauseating cooking.

I love that Rupert Kingfisher tried to do something a bit different. I wish I could have raved about Madame Pamplemousse. The characters are too simplistic for an older audience to get their teeth into, or for it to be treasured in years to come, like Fup by Jim Dodge. The setting is too sophisticated for its young audience to appreciate or care about.

Sue Hellard's illustrations make the book a thing of beauty. They're relatively simple pen and ink drawings, but they garnish the story perfectly, and give it an extra level of classiness.

Any seven year old gourmands will have a new favourite book. Everyone else will like what they've read, but will be left with a slight disappointment that it wasn't more to their taste.

Thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Fup by Jim Dodge and George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl get the seasoning just right.

Buy Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher at Amazon.com.


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Christine Liese-Schikaneder said:

I happen to disagree with your reviewer.

Maybe he should have spoken to my seven year old before calling this book a missed opportunity.

I first read this book to my seven year old at bedtime and she absolutely adored it - and so did I! She actually liked the book so much that she is currently rereading it on her own for her school reading project - and again she loves the plot and is gaining a vast amount of challenging new words too - that's what I'd call a big success! And she's been inspired (after breaking off in the middle of so many 'popular' books) a. to read and b. to embark on wild cooking schemes. I'm speaking of a very normal 7 year old. My 12 year old sophisticated whizz kid was found eavesdropping on the strory, perched at the end of the bed. And I wasn't bored to tears by some insipid fairy story. A missed opportunity? No way! BUY IT.

Keith replied:

I'm absolutely delighted that Christine and her family loved it. I'm always happy to be proven wrong! Any time that children read and/or cook is most definitely a good thing.