Here is a book review for my editor friend Joyce Magnin’s new book Cake.
“Hope is the thing with feathers.” ~ Emily Dickinson
Twelve-year-old Wilma Sue discovers the ultimate comfort food in Joyce Magnin’s CAKE: Love, Chickens and a Taste of the Peculiar , a sweet tale complete with icing, surprises, love, and just the right amount of nuts.
Mary Poppins meets Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle in this new story by the celebrated author of Carrying Mason. Wilma Sue seems destined to hop from one foster home to the next—until she is sent to live with sisters and retired missionaries, Ruth and Naomi. But do they really care about Wilma Sue, or are they just looking for a Cinderella-style farmhand to help raise their chickens and bake cakes?
As Wilma Sue adjusts to her new surroundings and helping Naomi deliver “special” cakes to the neighbors, she discovers something strange that happens to people who eat the cakes. Did Mrs. Snipplesmith’s chair really rise off the floor? Was that a gold fish in the lemonade?
Wilma Sue starts looking for answers and secret ingredients in these mysterious cakes. While doing so, she makes a new friend, Penny, and discovers what it feels like to be truly loved.
But when Penny and her mother hit a rough patch, Wilma Sue decides to try her own hand at baking a special cake—with disastrous results. Then tragedy strikes the chickens, and all fingers point to Wilma Sue—just when she was starting to believe she had finally found a permanent home with Ruth and Naomi.
Magnin takes Wilma Sue and readers on a journey to find faith in themselves and those around them. Fans will learn, along with Wilma Sue, that it’s not yummy desserts and magic that cures, but two very special ingredients: love and hope.
I have been so excited for the success of Cake. There has been tremendous praise for this book including a coveted Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews. Here’s a snippet from the full review:
“Magnin maintains a delicate balance between a fablelike fantasy and reality fiction as Wilma Sue gradually discovers that not only is she eminently worthy of love, but that she can also help the people around her by loving them. Wilma’s captivating, clever language and short declarative sentences perfectly exemplify her wary but reverential view of the world.”
For me, there is nothing more magical and amazing than having the privilege to write for this age group. Unless I have the opportunity to sit with young people and talk about the power of story and words and the joy of books.
Here is what another reader has said about Cake:
“Cake is the perfect book for a family read along. There is a lot of truth among the stories of taking care of chickens and baking cakes. There are also some wonderful and of course quirky characters. Magnin’s humor also shines through, especially in her naming and descriptions of the characters. Who couldn’t feel a bit wary of a child named Penelope Pigsworthy or in awe of an opera singer named Ramona Von Tickle? There are also a lot of interesting tidbits to discuss along the way — from the country of Malawi to the care and feeding of chickens to the great classic Beowulf. Yes, all that and a lot of fun. My only complaint is that I had a readers copy that did not include the illustrations of the goings on within the book. From the cover illustration, I can imagine they add a great deal to the telling of the story. So if you are looking for a book for your 9 – 12 year old children or grandchildren, get a copy of Cake, and then schedule some family time for reading fun. Highly Recommended.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joyce Magnin is the author of five novels; including the popular Bright’s Pond series and the 2011 middle grade novel Carrying Mason. She is also a frequent speaker and writing instructor. Magnin lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.
Joyce loves to visit schools, libraries, and churches and meet with kids about books and writing. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
To schedule an interview with Joyce Magnin, or receive a review copy of CAKE, please contact Candice Frederick at DJC Communications: 212-971-9707, Candice@djccommunications.com.