Originally published in 2007 by Scholastic, this story has been republished with an updated cover by Pipi Press.
After the death of his mother, Nicholas often finds himself in the kitchen building on his cooking skills, as his father is a creative genius and often forgets about mundane things such as cooking for his two sons. Nicholas struggles to figure out what he’s good at, comparing himself to his peers at school. Oliver comes from a wealthy family and wins everything, and then an annoying, bossy girl, Ruby, moves in next door who claims to be good at almost everything. Every afternoon she visits, gives Nicholas some cooking tips and then encourages Nicholas to try baking. He turns out such good cakes that Ruby pushes him to enter the great chocolate cake bake-off competition.
This is a feel-good story with a lot of heart. It is in a school setting with many of the students coming from less than ideal homes. Themes include overcoming obstacles to find one’s gift and believing in yourself, and that there are often underlying reasons for bullying or nasty behaviour.
Werry’s narrative clips along at a good pace with some humorous moments. The characters are believable and would resonate with many readers. This book would make a good class read-aloud.
Title: The Great Chocolate Cake Bake Off
Author: Philippa Werry
Publisher: Pipi Press
Date of Publication: July 2020
Advisory warnings: None
Reviewer: Nova Gibson, Librarian, Massey Primary School, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
First sentence: There once was a girl, her name was Elaine.
You can buy this book here