I had an unplanned little Latinix series as holds came in on various fun-sounding books all at the same time. Here’s the next one, a funny fantasy with lots of baking.
A Dash of Trouble. Love Sugar Magic #1 by Anna Meriano. Walden Pond Press, 2018.
Leo, short for Leonora, is eleven years old and the youngest of five sisters, living with their parents in Texas. Her mother runs the family bakery, which always does big business in the run-up to the Day of the Dead. Leo is increasingly sure that her family is hiding something from her, especially as they’re refusing her help in the bakery in the lead-up to this especially busy time. Through some sneakiness, she finds out that at least some of the baked goods are magical.
Leo is determined not to wait! Even when her Spanish isn’t quite good enough to understand everything in the old family cookbook. Even when her initial attempt at baking flying pig cookies in her EZ-Bake Oven goes poorly, she wants to try more. Her best friend Caroline has recently lost her mother, so even though Leo isn’t yet interested in boys, she decides to help Caroline’s crush open up with a little magical baking. Naturally, things go horribly, hilariously wrong. Can Leo and Caroline fix their mistakes without their parents finding out what’s going on?
This is a delightful story, with a large family that has its share of arguments but is supportive when it comes right down to it. I enjoyed the back-and-forth of Leo and Caroline’s friendship as well, and I always enjoy some good baking with my fantasy. It’s on the long side for some readers, but should be lots of fun for upper elementary and lower middle school readers, with nothing inappropriate for advanced younger readers. It was plenty enjoyable for this adult reader, as well.
For more middle grade fantasies where baking plays a key role, try