Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Who doesn't like doughnuts?

Tristan's family decides to move from New York City to a small town after his father loses his job and his mother decides to open a restaurant. Tristan is so upset that he doesn't even tell his best friend, thinking that his magical thinking will somehow stop the move from happening. It doesn't. Soon, the family is ensconced in a run down house at the outskirts of a small town on the East Coast. Tristan isn't happy, his sister Jeanine is even less happy because she is not in an Able and Talented program, and four year old Zoe just shows her unhappiness by biting people. When the school district suggests that the children don't start school until the new year, the parents decide that Tristan and Jeanine should each have a project to keep them busy. Tristan has visited a small store in town and been intrigued by their chocolate cream doughnuts, which are no longer being made. He eventually earns the recipe, and embarks on a project to produce and sell the doughnuts, aided by Josh, the son of the local librarian. The boys perfect the recipe, source and price the ingredients, come up with a business plan, get a permit, advertise, and manage to produce a batch to sell. When their debut date ends up coinciding with a snow storm, they are afraid The Doughnut Stop is doomed. Is their chocolate cream doughnut really the kind of product that changes lives?

Good Points
This was a fast paced, fun read that had a great mix of middle grade elements. Even though there was a lot of detail about setting up a business, those details were offset by raccoon poop, a younger sister who zip lines in the basement and opens up several bags of flour as "fairy dust", and lots of chocolate! Plus, there are lots of very good descriptions of differences in tastes of doughnuts, and middle grade readers really do like to read about food.

This book is not all funny throwaway scenes. There is the middle grade angst of moving and making new friends, and the idea that if you don't prepare for something and don't think about it, it might not happen-- that is perfect middle grade thinking! There is a good bit of spot on sibling rivalry as well. I was able to remember the details of this very clearly for several days after I finished this, which means that the writing was organized and strong.

There are definitely more books about cooking with girls as the main character, so it was fun to see one with a boy cooking. The business angle was great as well. Hand this to readers who have finished all of the Scholastic Wish novels like You're Bacon Me Crazy as well Schaefer's The Teashop Girls, Shaw's Flavor of the Week and Levine and Riley's The Saturday Cooking Club.
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