by Sara Varon
Publisher: First Second
Format: Softcover, 6x8, full color, $16.99
Reviewed by: Diamond BookShelf
Sara Varon's Bake Sale is a meditation on responsibility, friendship, overcoming setbacks, and most of all, baking. The main character, Cupcake, runs a bakery serving sweets to a loyal and appreciative clientele. When his best friend Eggplant mentions an upcoming trip to Turkey to meet the famous cook Turkish Delight, Cupcake embarks on a mission to make enough money to go, even quitting his band to have the time. Unfortunately, circumstances conspire to interfere with Cupcake's aims, and he finds himself having to decide between his dreams of meeting the famous baker and his friendship.
There's a very deliberate pace to Bake Sale, with a few sequences devoted to the preparation of Cupcake's treats (including recipes both in the story and the back of the book). Varon shows a strong eye for detail and interesting settings, whether a turkish bath or blessing of the pets ceremony. The dialogue is spare and direct, good for early readers. Varon delivers the main message of the importance of friendship, and the sacrifices we make for it, in a fun world full of charm and attention to detail.