Bake Sale by Sara Varon

You know, sometimes it seems like cheating to include small graphic novels that you can read in 15 or 20 minutes in your yearly book total along with the 500 page books it takes days to read.  But rather than think of the minutes or pages I do think of the number of stories I read each year.  And Bake Sale has a charming story, with characters I like, a vivid NYC setting, and a heartwarming message, all of which will stick in my mind. And surely a story in your mind is what matters most, don’t you think?
Cupcake runs a little bakery and every day is in early whipping up tasty treats.  Eggplant is his best friend and they play in a band together.  They live in a world populated with foods, which made me wonder, when he saw a carton of milk, and Egg and Tomato are customers, how it works when he makes foods which includes those ingredients.  Sugar comes into the bakery saying brownies smell delicious-surely they are filled with sugar itself? But anyway, Eggplant is planning a trip to visit his Aunt Aubergine in Turkey next year and it turns out that she is good friends with the famous pastry chef Turkish Delight. Well, this is most exciting to Cupcake who positively idolizes Turkish Delight.  Cupcake is determined to go on the trip as well and to earn the necessary money sacrifices being in the band to spend more time creatively selling her (his? gender is never really mentioned) wares.  I really loved this section-seeing how Cupcakes stretches himself to promote his goods. For example, when the Westminster Kennel Club show is in town, he makes homemade dog biscuits and marzipan animals and sets up shot outside Madison Square Garden.  At the farmer’s market (and everything is a real, NYC location or event) he sells carrot cake and other vegetable based goods.  He’s not afraid to try new things (sugared flower petals) and sometimes fails. He works hard and is able to save enough money for an Istanbul plane ticket.  But then-oh no! Eggplant loses his job and cannot go. What to do?
Eggplant and Cupcake’s friendship is a lovely one and Cupcake makes some mature decisions.  For a small and seemingly simple book there’s a lot of emotion in here, as well as some very real issues–Cupcake is in a creative rut, Eggplant points out the black and white decisions to be made when you need to earn money, there’s some jealousy, etc.
I loved the illustrations and how smoothly the story is told.  Something about the characters being food is just so funny and sweet.  Varon also wrote Robot Dreams, which I also liked (but I think I found it a little sad?)
Super bonus-the recipes are included!!!

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2 thoughts on “Bake Sale by Sara Varon

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