Food and Magic Combine in Deliciously Fun Middle Grade
What I Liked:
The bakery setting is a lot of fun. Who isn’t happy picturing a whole bunch of delicious cake in their head? It doesn’t hurt that my friend gave me some cookies today, so I got to do more than just read about desert. The Bliss family runs a bakery which literally serves up a bit of magic along with the muffins and cakes and tarts. The kids, Parsley (Leigh), Sage, Rosemary (Rose), and Thyme (Ty), all have distinct personalities and roles in the family. The heroine, Rose, feels like her role is to be the boring, responsible one who does all the work but whom no one much likes.
When the Bliss parents are called out of town to solve a crisis in another city with magic pastries, Rose is left in charge, even though Ty is the oldest. She’s thrilled to get to try magic recipes for the first time ever, but she’s left with the admonishment not to use the key into the room with the recipe book for any reason. Yeah, that works about as well as telling Castle to stay in the car.
What Bliss reminded me of was Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. In episodes of that show, Sabrina would work a spell and it would have unintended consequences. A love spell, for example, might infect the whole student body, causing rampant chaos in the halls. In this case, a magical batch of cookies might result in the whole town going bonkers. As magic is attempted to correct problems caused by earlier magic, the situation snowballs. There are a lot of entertaining scenes, and I’m sure younger readers will be thoroughly amused by the absurdities, like the town doing everything backward.
What Left Me Wanting More:
For an older reader, the plot is incredibly predictable. From the first appearance of Aunt Lily, I knew what was going to happen for the rest of the book. It doesn’t stop the individual scenes from being entertaining, but, as a whole, I was less impressed. I also really could have done without Ty’s crush on Lily, as well as his seemingly random use of Spanish phrases.
The Final Verdict:
Kathryn Littlewood’s Bliss is a quick and fun middle grade read full of magical mayhem. I liked it enough to try book two, so I might even get to that ARC.