Bite-Sized Magic: Bliss, Book 3

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Bite-Sized Magic: Bliss, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Magic baker girl is kidnapped in fun, fast-moving sequel.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Magic and fantasy are more important here than academic subjects, but Bite-Sized Magic offers a chance to ponder such issues as good and bad government regulations and who benefits from them, as a new regulation forces all small bakeries to shut down. Rose's brother Ty is forever including bits of high-school Spanish in his conversation. A mouse character speaks French.

Positive Messages

Love for your family -- and taking responsibility as a family member -- is an essential theme. There also are strong messages about friendship, working together, solving problems creatively, and the magical properties of a mother's love.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Brave, resourceful, devoted to her family and inspired by the mission of spreading joy through baked goods, Rose also is a believable 12-year-old who gets confused and makes mistakes. Adult members of her family are mostly in the background in this installment, though they're loving and supportive and sometimes supply an essential solution to the current problem. Rose's often-annoying brothers help save the day in clever, improbable ways.

Violence & Scariness

Rose is kidnapped; she and her family are held prisoner until she perfects the recipes with which the villains are planning to take over the world. " 'I want more than better snack cakes,' said Mr. Butter with a snarl....'Mostess Snack Cakes need to be so good people will kill for them...And you're going to make them that way -- or else.'"

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's lots to like and little to worry about in Bite-Sized Magic, the third installment in Kathryn Littlewood's Bliss saga. It's something of a coming-of-age tale for 12-year-old Rosemary Bliss, who's kidnapped by villains bent on world domination through magical recipes. They need Rose's skills to perfect the recipes -- or terrible things will happen to her family, who've been taken hostage. Still, however dark the apparent peril, love, family, and creative thinking rule the day; as Rose's mom tells the kids, "I have very special children. You are good and clever, and you look out for one another. You will be fine."

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What's the story?

Twelve-year-old Rosemary Bliss just wants things to get back to normal at the family bakery, now that she's bested her villainous aunt in a cooking contest and gotten back the centuries-old collection of family recipes. But between the paparazzi in the front yard and a ridiculous new law that shuts down the bakery, things are anything but normal. Then Rosemary is kidnapped by villains who want to take over the world with mind-altering magical snack foods -- and who are holding her family hostage to make her do their bidding.

Is it any good?

Like its predecessors, BITE-SIZED MAGIC is a frothy confection that's more silly than scary. It features an appealing heroine and a supporting cast that includes loving adults, annoying but helpful siblings, a snarky talking cat, and a mouse who speaks French.

With a fast-moving plot, wisecracks galore, and imaginative inventions such as the Caterwaul (basically, Facebook for felines), it'll keep kids engaged for its 400-plus pages. Along the way, it may entice them to think about bigger issues, such as how to run a good business and how bad laws can wreak havoc.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why stories about using magic substances to control people's behavior are so popular. Do you think that happens in real life?

  • Have you read the other books in the Bliss series? How do you think this one compares? How has Rose changed since the first book?

  • Baking has been the Bliss family's passion as long as anyone can remember. Does your family have an interest that's carried on through the generations? 

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