I am far from a pro as far as baking is concerned, but I do believe it is a little bit magical so a graphic novel that follows a magical intern in a kitchen couldn’t go wrong with me.
It turns out baking is both science and magic, at least according to the wizard in this enchanted kitchen. I admit, I made a lot of the mistakes Sage makes in the book myself. The big mistake that I seemed to make again and again over the years is skipping over (or not quite following certain directions) because you don’t think they’re important. When you are faced with a final product that is flat when it is supposed to be fluffy or dry when it’s supposed to be moist, you start to realize that every bit of the directions are important. Fortunately, there are books like this one that tell you why they are important—from why butter should be at different temperatures for different recipes to how the amount or type of flour you use will affect your cookies. Readers don’t have to ruin a whole batch of cookies to learn like I did! Plus, there’s a bit of fun and silliness in the mix. Win-win.
Baking just may be the closest we can get to magic here in the real world, so wanna-be wizards should consider the kitchen and fire up their stand mixers. I know I will. As the baking wizard says: “Not magical? Baking is a tangible form of magic! It is alchemy! Transforming basic into fantastic! Inedible to delicious!”
Now I’m off to try one of the 8 recipes included in the book. :)
Dandelions are not the only way to make a wish. Some people wish with kites or feathers. Candles or weasels. Yes, weasels. Roseanne Greenfield Thong shares wish traditions from around the world in her picture book Wish. Some will be familiar–like the little boy with the dandelion on the cover of Something Extraordinary–and others will be new to young readers. But there is something enchanting about all the different ways to make a wish.
Middle grade novels are the real place to find wishes, it seems.
Some are magical like Dreamer, Wisher, Liar by Charise Mericle Harper, which featured a jar of wishes written on paper that transported Ash to when the wishes were made. This sweet middle grade novel about friendship, mothers & daughters, and secrets. I’ve actually mentioned it on this blog before in a post about mother-daughter connections.
Others are searching for magic. Like Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala, which is about grief and healing. After her mother’s death, Talia wishes she could say goodbye to her one last time, and she latches on to the idea of wishing on a unicorn like in a story her mother once told her. The writing is beautiful, and the story is sad but hopeful.
Then there are the wishes that we make come true. In Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin, Annie tells Peter that she is a “wish girl,” and he thinks she means magic. Really, she is a Make-a-Wish girl because she is very sick. The story, however, is not without its own magic as Peter and Annie bond over sharing their wishes.
We wish for all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of ways. Some of our wishes come true and some don’t. In the end, I think that all of these books share the idea that what is important is connecting with people–friends, family, community. The next time you blow out birthday candles or drop coins into a fountain, think about these stories and the people you love most.