nicole's Reviews > Bake Sale

Bake Sale by Sara Varon
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Oct 01, 11

bookshelves: 2011, graphic_novel, 7up
Read on September 30, 2011, read count: 1

Bake Sale has that odd charm that all of Sara Varon's works posses. She makes quiet books, right down to the muted color palette and humble handwritten text. They are strangely sad for children's book. Melancholy. Her characters seem to understand loneliness, and for a reason I'm trying to figure out, I find that quite welcome. Certainly the loneliness (and more so the feeling of disappointment that, in Bake Sale, Cupcake experiences when having to make sacrifices to be Grown Up) is relatable, but there's a certain pleasure this juxtaposing brings me. It's not unlike the feeling Edward Gorey's naughtiness elicits, though her books are very different things. Am I just amused because it's a pink frosted Cupcake that's feeling so heavy-hearted? Despite the feeling I've come to expect from Varon's books, I think I am still somehow surprised by how emotional they are despite the cuteness of the characters themselves.

More specific to Bake Sale itself though: Plot-wise, I felt a bit shortchanged. It was a simple enough story: Work hard for something. Find friend in a tight spot. Make sacrifice for friend, which isn't easy, but in the end FRIENDSHIP IS THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL!

It's not a bad plot. It was just sort of anti-climatic. Cupcake still seemed a bit grumbly in the end. Yeah, sure, he'd done the "right thing", but he didn't really seem happy about it to me. And the format itself left me wanting more too. I feel I could have been more forgiving of the plot's simplicity had this been a picture book. But it's a graphic novel. Or a sort of chapter book. Or something. And it costs $20, which is more than a hardcover picture book costs. From a customer perspective, if I pay more... well... I want to receive more. I don't know that I've ever said that in a book review before, but reading Bake Sale, then looking at the price tag, that's really how I felt.

I have mixed feelings about the recipes included at the back of the book as well. When I saw them I thought "oooh!" and it certainly is a sensible thing to included baking recipes in a book about baking, but, well... who needs a regular old, nothing out of the ordinary, recipe for brownies? Kids, I guess. Tiny peoples who do not do a whole lot in the realm of food preparation, Nicole. I know, I know. But still. I was not overly impressed by what was included, with the exception of the marzipan and dog biscuits, which are way more interesting albeit less delicious.
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