Thursday, March 27, 2008

Claire and the Bakery Thief


Claire and the Bakery Thief
by Janice Poon
Kids Can Press, 2008
review copy compliments of the publisher

Claire's dad lost her job and they're moving. He's enthusiastic about the small town bakery he bought that he's going to convert to all-organic, but Claire's mom is less than thrilled about moving away from the city. Claire's dog Bongo is her constant companion, but when it comes to making new friends, it seems she's stuck between older girls who only want to talk about boys, and the six year-old son of a neighbor.

Luckily, Claire meets Jet, a girl who has a great imagination like hers and whose experience with divorce helps Claire deal with her bickering parents.

Claire has her eye on a shady artificial flavoring salesman who keeps coming to the bakery, and when her mom goes to the city with him and doesn't come back, he's Claire's main suspect. With the help of Jet and Bongo, Claire sets out to solve the mystery of her missing mom.

This graphic novel for younger readers is reminiscent of Kat & Mouse by Alex de Campi, which features middle school teen girls teaming up to solve a mystery that threatens one of the parents. Claire and Jet will appeal to girls in the 7-10 year age range. The mystery in Kat & Mouse is set in the science lab and in the back of the book are the instructions for doing some of the science that the girls use to solve the mystery. Similarly, in the back of Claire and the Bakery Thief are some of the recipes that are featured in the story.

By the end of the book, Bellevale seems like home to Claire and her parents. Claire is looking forward to the start of school, and readers will look forward Claire's next adventure.

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