Bliss: Book 1

 
A family's magical recipes wreak hilarious havoc.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers may gain a sense of respect for family history as Rose goes through her family's ancient magical cookbook, but this lighthearted tale of the Bliss family bakery is mostly meant to entertain.

Positive messages

Rose's parents are very strict about the uses of their magical cookery: They don't want anyone to know about it or to use it for profit or personal gain. Though Rose makes some bad decisions, her love for her family and her willingness to go to extremes to ensure their happiness is what shines through.

Positive role models

In general, Rose wants to behave responsibly and take good care of the Bliss family bakery while her parents are away. However, though her parents have specifically warned her against it, she lets her older brother talk her into using the family cookbook for fun, and she tells her younger brother about it even though she knows he can't keep a secret. When everyone but Rose falls under the sway of Aunt Lily's charm, Rose goes against her better instincts and gives Aunt Lily information she knows she shouldn't, hoping to gain her brothers' approval.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that when 12-year-old Rose is left in charge of the Bliss family's magical bakery, she doesn't follow any of her parents' instructions and breaks many of their rules. However, this tale of Rose and her family is harmless fun, filled with slapstick humor, kooky characters, and an interesting villain in the form of beautiful Aunt Lily.

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What's the story?

Although her parents have never officially told her so, Rose knows the Bliss family recipes wield magical powers. When they leave her in charge of the Follow Your Bliss bakery for a week, she and her brothers can't resist trying some of the recipes out. The effects on the town are pure funny farce, such as when the shy cabinetmaker eats Love Muffins and proclaims his unrequited love for the town biology teacher from atop a fake Eiffel Tower. When the mysterious Aunt Lily shows up, Rose reluctantly allows her to stay with them and watches jealously as her aunt easily takes charge of the bakery. As Rose gets deeper into magical baking and Aunt Lily worms her way into the hearts of her brothers, it falls to Rose to protect the family secrets.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Though readers may have to suspend disbelief when the Bliss parents casually leave 12-year-old Rose in charge of their magical bakery for a week, it serves the purpose of the story and allows Rose to find her way. Rose is likable, but her initial lack of gumption can be frustrating, especially when she lets her brothers run the show just to gain a little attention from them. However, her feelings of being left out and overlooked are real and relatable, and her heart is in the right place. Goofy humor carries the story when the already quirky town residents fall under the power of such delicacies as the Cookies of Truth or Turn-Around-Inside-Out-Upside-Down Cake and helps to overshadow the fact that Rose's brothers and other secondary characters are somewhat flatly drawn. Readers looking for a fun, light read will enjoy the silly, over-the-top humor. The last chapter indicates a sequel may follow.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk how hard it is for Rose to resist looking at the Bliss Cookery Booke even though she was told not to. If you were put in the same situation, do you think you would you have been able to stop yourself from looking?

  • Who would you like to give Cookies of Truth to? What do you think they'd say? What other recipes would you like to see in a magical cookbook?

  • Aunt Lily is the villain of the story, but did anything positive come out of her visit?

Book details

Author:Kathryn Littlewood
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date:February 14, 2012
Number of pages:374
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:8 - 12
Read alone:8 - 12

This review of Bliss: Book 1 was written by

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