I won Cupcake Cousins from the 48 Hour Book Challenge – many thanks to Kate Hannigan, and to Tiffany Gholar, the artist who designed the tote bag that was also part of the prize package. I read Cupcake Cousins almost as soon as I got it, despite my large TBR pile, using the excuse that the other book I was reading at the same time was maybe a little too dark for bedtime reading.
Cupcake Cousins by Kate Hannigan. Illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes. Disney*Hyperion, 2014.
Cupcake Cousins tells the story of a summer family get-together with wedding in Saugatuk, Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan, focusing on the friendship and trials of the 9-year-old best friend cousins Willow and Delia. Willow and her parents, older sister Violet and younger brother Sweet William are from Chicago, while Delia and her parents and older sister live in Detroit. Delia’s father is African-American, making this a family with cousins of different skin colors like that in which my children are growing up.
These cousins are mostly concerned right now because their mother’s younger sister, Aunt Rosie, is getting married. While Violet and Delia’s big sister are being called junior bridesmaids and get to wear lovely dark purple dresses, Willow and Delia are stuck being flower girls and wearing fluffy pink dresses more appropriate to four-year-olds. Willow and Delia, who have been used to doing the baking on the annual family vacations, hope to convince Aunt Rosie to let them bake cupcakes for the wedding instead. But when they arrive there, they find bigger problems – the owner of their cottage has hired a caterer, Cat, who doesn’t want pesky children in her kitchen. Even worse, Delia’s dad is unemployed, and it’s been going on long enough that the kids can tell it’s affecting Delia’s parents’ marriage. In the midst of trying to solve everyone’s troubles and have a good time, the girls are often assigned to Sweet William duty, and he has a habit of wandering off and getting into usually adorable trouble. Can our nine-year-olds save the day???
Well, ok, it’s maybe a tad bit unrealistic that they would be able to solve everyone’s problems and pull off baking feats that challenge many adult bakers. I was having far too much fun to care, however, and I doubt that young readers would care, either. It’s filled with sweet line drawings, and has several yummy-sounding recipes as well. My only slight issue with it was that the cover and the mood seem appropriate for third- or fourth-grade readers, and it’s just a little on the long side for average readers in that range. That hasn’t kept it from going out quite well already here at the library, and I loaned my copy out to a confident almost-fourth grader who looked very excited about it. This is perfect summer vacation reading, with a lovely and much-needed depiction of a loving multi-racial family for today’s children. I’m looking forward to my own daughter being old enough for it.