Weather Forecast for alphabet soup and vicinity: Mostly sunny with periods of heavy cupcake rain. Sugar highs astronomical with cheers blowing in from all directions. Frosting and sprinkles overnight north and west of town.
Grab your umbrellas, everyone — it’s cupcake weather!
I am sooooooo excited that It’s Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder (S&S/Aladdin, 2010) is officially out today! Truly, this middle grade novel has my name written all over it, and I’m here to shout its praises from the highest rooftops.
Will you just look at that cover? *lick lick* Scrumptious and then some. If it’s got you anticipating a deliciously fun, uplifting story that will leave you comforted, inspired, and totally satisfied, you will not be disappointed. Just wait till you begin reading — each chapter is named after a different cupcake flavor: Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes, Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes, Coconut Mango Cupcakes, and my personal favorite, Hawaiian Sky Cupcakes! ☺
You probably know Lisa from her teen verse novels (I Heart You, You Haunt Me; Far from You, and Chasing Brooklyn, all published by Simon Pulse), and may be wondering (as I did) how she would fare with a story targeted for a younger audience, ages 8-12. Fear not: this made-from-scratch treat will tempt even reluctant readers to gobble it up in one joyous bite.
“The whole cupcake thing started a couple of years ago, on my tenth birthday. My mom tried a recipe for red velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting.” ~ from IRC. (photo by fruitcakey)
After all, Lisa used only the finest ingredients: a likeable, true-to-life main character, an appetizing premise, a cozy small town setting, and interesting secondary characters, all flavored with equal parts charm, humor, and suspense. Add to the mix a well-paced narrative that flows like butter from beginning to end, and you have a book that’s lovingly baked to perfection.
Twelve-year-old Isabel desperately wants to get out of Oregon. She’s never left the state, and dreams of going on a real vacation to any one of the many faraway places she’s read about in books. But it looks like she’ll be stuck at home again this summer, since her parents will be busy setting up a new cupcake shop. To make matters worse, her best friend Sophie will be away at camp for 3 weeks. How Isabel envies her neighbor, Stan, who’s going to England! And if only she could be a flight attendant like her Aunt Christy, who sends her postcards from all over the world!
Isabel is NYC bound! (by Melinda’s Fantasy Cupcakes).
Things look up when Sophie tells Isabel about the Baker’s Best Baking Contest: the finalists will be flown to New York City, and whoever wins the bake-off will get $1000! All Isabel has to do is come up with the best recipe ever. Well, it’s not that simple because Isabel’s neurotic, stressed-out mom wants her to enter a cupcake recipe to help promote the new shop. Of course, Isabel has different ideas — in the form of a killer Chocolate Jam Tart recipe. Will Isabel disappoint her mother, or do what she wants for a change? And how does her recipe measure up to the one Sophie is entering? Sophie, after all, is good at everything, and she always gets what she wants.
Chapter 12: Pink Champagne Cupcakes
(sweet and sophisticated, just like Grandma).
photo by Kathy (SugaBabe Cakes)
Don’t let all the sweet touches fool you. Isabel is not perfect and does learn from her mistakes. I think the intended audience will readily identify with the mother-daughter conflict and best-friend jealousy, all the while rooting for Isabel as she tackles each bump in the road. What I especially enjoyed is the feeling of warmth and strong sense of community that characterize the town of Willow.
Lana would like these! (by Mossy’s Masterpiece cake/cupcake designs)
Though much of the tension revolves around Isabel’s mother, this is nicely balanced by the presence of Isabel’s wise, loving grandmother (a flamboyant lover of hats), Stan (a funny neighbor full of knock-knock jokes), and Lana (an artist neighbor from Hawai’i). Isabel’s telling interactions with each of these adults add texture and richness to the story. We are also privy to Isabel’s little passport notebook, which she fills with yearnings and observations:
Food brings people together.
All over the world,
people gather together and eat.
In America, churches have potlucks
and neighborhoods have barbecues.
I like that about America. ~ IB
It’s a good thing Lisa included two yummy recipes, because you’ll be madly craving cupcakes when you’re done reading!
Recipe for Grandma’s Applesauce Cupcakes included in the book!
(photo by porcalina)
So, are you ready to help me congratulate the Cupcake Woman of the Hour? First, select one of these hats, so you can look spiffy like Grandma:
photo by The Cupcake Tarts.
Now, let out three big cheers for It’s Raining Cupcakes! Woo Hoo! Dive right into the bowl, and feel free to splash around with abandon (perfectly acceptable while on a sugar high). Cupcake aficionados all over the world thank you, Lisa, for this delectable, feel-good read about making dreams come true!
Today’s Special: Magic Travel Soup (one spoonful will transport you to the destination of your dreams).
What? After all those cupcakes, you still have room for dessert? Okay, since I’m in a good mood, you may have a jam tart, just like the ones Stan brought back from England for Isabel.
photo by *Melodye*.
Quick! Add some sweetness to your life by racing over to your local indie, or ordering your very own copy of It’s Raining Cupcakes through your fave online bookseller. If you go to a bricks and mortar store, wear shocking pink and call everyone, “Cupcake.” You will make many friends.
The publisher has generously provided two brand new shiny copies of It’s Raining Cupcakes! Enter to win by leaving a comment telling us what your favorite cupcake flavor is. Extra entries for Twitter, Facebook or blog mentions. Open to U.S. residents only. Deadline is midnight (EST), Tuesday, March 16th.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
♥ Read an excerpt from the book at the publisher’s website.
♥ Special Launch Day interview at It’s Sunny in the Middle.
♥ Pie-of-the-Month-Club interview with Heather Vogel Frederick (includes Lisa’s Blackberry Pie recipe)!
♥ Lisa will be doing a booksigning at Powell’s Books in Beaverton, Oregon, on Sunday, March 14th, 2 p.m.
HOW SWEET IT IS!
IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES by Lisa Schroeder
published by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, March 2010
Middle Grade Fiction for ages 8-12, 208 pp.
Review copy provided by publisher.
S’mores Cupcakes: Isabel’s winning recipe? Read the book to find out!
(photo: Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake)
Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.