Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cupcake Cousins, by Kate Hannigan (illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes)

I read this to Magda, who is four, and she loved it, but the target audience is probably around ages 7-9. It's a great chapter book overall, with just a few minor problems (in our opinion).

First of all, at nearly 300 pages it's quite long for a children's chapter book. Of course some of those pages are recipes or illustrations, but still.

Second, most of the characters have flower or plant names (Rose, Willow, Violet, etc.) but since it's hard to come up with plant-themed boy names, the little brother in the book is called Sweet William. Although I've seen that conceit used to great effect before (have you seen the movie The Hanging Garden? It's great), it did get very annoying that he was called that Every. Single. Time. Not once did they just call him William or Will. Does it say Sweet William on his birth certificate? Also, it didn't help that he was the worst character in the book. He was five but he acted (and was treated) like he was two, in that nobody ever reprimanded him for all of the horrible ways he screwed everything up. My four-year-old was a little insulted by how useless the five-year-old in the book was.

But on the plus side, the characters of Willow and Delia (the so-called Cupcake Cousins, though they seem to make everything BUT cupcakes) are great. And I loved that Delia comes from a mixed race family and it's NBD. Willow likes the fact that even though they have different hair and skin colour, she and her cousin still look a lot alike and have the same eyes. In real life, lots of families and extended families are racially diverse, but that's something you almost never see represented in children's books. I liked that a lot.

Cupcake Cousins
Author: Kate Hannigan
Illustrator: Brooke Boynton Hughes
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
View on Amazon

Source: NetGalley

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