Outlook Issue 18 Winter 2014
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Junior Good Read
17 The baking life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis (Curious Fox, 2014) Many of us have been glued to our television screens over the autumn, enjoying the thrills of the showstoppers and the spills of melting ice cream in The Great British Bake Off. It’s good, wholesome (generally) family viewing and has inspired people young and old to don aprons and wooden spoons for their own baking creations. Of course there have been lots of publishing spin-offs, but among the numerous cookbooks is a novel for young readers. Called The Baking Life of Amelie Day, it is about a teenager who loves cooking. She delights friends and family with her new recipes for cakes, bread and biscuits and enters a national baking competition. Her efforts take her to the final stage, where she will appear in the television programme, but when filming is due to start she has to go into hospital to be treated for cystic fibrosis. What will she do? Amelie is a strong, positive, inspiring character, and as well as the baking and health issues the book covers trust, independence and romance. Tempting recipes are dotted throughout the story, and the presentation of cystic fibrosis is sensitively handled; it’s informative and moving, but not over-indulgent or sentimental. This is an excellent story for children aged from nine years, and the only reason they’ll want to put the book down is to search out the ingredients to try out the recipes. Catherine Larner I am Cat by Jackie Morris (Francis Lincoln, 2013 Large format) I am Cat. At night I prowl, but in the day I sleep … And when I sleep I dream … And what are those dreams?, we wonder, as we gaze at a little ginger moggie, curled up, “ammonite tight”, fast asleep on a cushion. Certainly not about anything as common as mice! Turning the page, we are startled by glaring eyes and sharp teeth. It’s a tiger. Because, as the little cat sleeps, he dreams of being a Big Cat – and not only a tiger, but a cheetah, puma, snow leopard, and more! Jackie Morris writes in her typically spellbinding way, inviting us to join in the dreams. And as always, her exquisitely painted, dream-like illustrations are matched by her wonderfully visual vocabulary: “Bright flame-cat of the forest, striped like the shadows, sun-scorched.” But while she seeks to entertain, she also seeks to inform, with an implicit plea for conservation. Like the Big Cats, this is a book for children to treasure – but many adults will love it too. Mary Hodge