Superfudge meets The Lemonade War in this funny, heartwarming series debut about change, adventure, family, and of course, doughnuts.
Tristan isn't Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he's always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville―a town with one street and no restaurants. It's like suddenly they're supposed to be this other family, one that can survive without bagels and movie theaters.
His suspicions about his new town are confirmed when he's tricked into believing the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts, when in fact the owner hasn't made them in years. And so begins the only thing that could make life in Petersville worth living: getting the recipe, making the doughnuts, and bringing them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand. But Tristan will soon discover that when starting a business, it helps to be both Gifted and Talented, and It's possible he's bitten off more than he can chew...--from the publisher
304 pages 978-1492655411 Ages 8-12 (Grades 3-6)
Also in this series: The Doughnut King, Book 2
Read alike: Lemonade War series by Jacqueline Davies; World's Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops by Ryan K. Sager
Tristan's family decides to move from New York City to a small town after his father loses his job and his mother decides to open a restaurant. Tristan is so upset that he doesn't even tell his best friend, thinking that his magical thinking will somehow stop the m ove from happening. It doesn't. Soon, the family is ensconced in a run down house at the outskirts of a small town on the East Coast. Tristan isn't happy, his sister Jeanine is even less happy because she is not in an Able and Talented program, and four year old Zoe just shows her unhappiness by biting people. When the school district suggests that the children don't start school until the new year, the parents decide that Tristan and Jeanine should each have a project to keep them busy. Tristan has visited a small store in town and been intrigued by their chocolate cream doughnuts, which are no longer being made. He eventually earns the recipe, and embarks on a project to produce and sell the doughnuts, aided by Josh, the son of the local librarian. The boys perfect the recipe, source and price the ingredients, come up with a business plan, get a permit, advertise, and manage to produce a batch to sell. When their debut date ends up coinciding with a snow storm, they are afraid The Doughnut Stop is doomed. Is their chocolate cream doughnut really the kind of product that changes lives?
Strengths: This was a fast paced, fun read that had a great mix of middle grade elements. Even though there was a lot of detail about setting up a business, those details were offset by raccoon poop, a younger sister who zip lines in the basement and opens up several bags of flour as "fairy dust", and lots of chocolate! There's the middle grade angst of moving and making new friends as well as some spot on sibling rivalry. I was able to remember the details of this very clearly for several days after I finished this, which means that the writing was organized and strong.
Weaknesses: I found it impossible to believe that the school wouldn't take the children right away, and also that the mother didn't have a better plan for setting up her restaurant. Also, Zoe would hvae constantly been in time out were she my child. What I really think: Great cover, solid premise, and a very easy to sell topic. Definitely purchasing!
Random comment: For over half the book, I was operating under the assumption that Tristan was a girl. Even with a friend trying out for the boys' basketball team. Maybe it's because we have a female teacher who is named Tristan, or the scene where Tristan doesn't want to take a ride during a rainstorm from a strange man (who turns out to be the mayor), but when I finally noticed the pronoun "he" was used, I was surprised!
Reviewed by: Karen Yingling, Library Media Specialist, Ohio USA
See more of her reviews: msyinglingreads.blogspot.com
304 pages 978-1492655411 Ages 8-12