Author: Sarah Weeks
Publication: Scholastic Press (October 1, 2011)
Description: From the award-winning author of SO B. IT, a story about family, friendship, and...pie!
When Alice's Aunt Polly passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily surly cat Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.
Suddenly Alice is thrust into the center of a piestorm, with everyone in town trying to be the next pie-contest winner ... including Alice's mother and some of Alice's friends. The whole community is going pie-crazy . . . and it's up to Alice to discover the ingredients that really matter. Like family. And friendship. And enjoying what you do.
My Thoughts: This is a sweet historical fiction story about friendship and family and community. It is 1955 when middle grader Alice's beloved Aunt Polly passes away. Polly was the pie lady of Ipswich and the one who really understood Alice. After her death, Alice inherits her aunt Polly's rotund old cat named Lardo who inherited the secret recipe for Aunt Polly's pie crust. Lardo is named for the kind of shortening Aunt Polly used to make her famous pies. Everyone in town loved her pies and had a favorite. Each chapter begins with the recipe for a pie and a note telling us whose favorite it was.
Alice also inherits a lot of trouble. Everyone in town is wondering where Aunt Polly's pie crust recipe is and everyone is trying to make their own versions of Polly's famous pies. After all, Polly won thirteen Blueberry Medals in a row for having the best pie. Now someone else will have a chance to win the medal.
Then someone catnaps Lardo and breaks into Polly's pie shop and trashes it. Alice and her new friend Charlie Erdling are on the case and, after a few false starts, discover who is committing the crimes. Along the way Alice, with Charlie's help, learns how to be happy even after her beloved aunt is gone. She also comes to see that to be happy you have to follow your dreams and do what you love like Polly did.
The story is filled with a number of interesting characters including the mayor's wife who is more into politics than her husband is and a body-building school principal who wants to be America's first muscle woman to give girls a different role model to follow.
I liked the story and am eager to try a couple of recipes for pie too.
"Besides Mrs. Ogden and Pete Gillespie, who else do you know who's planning to enter a pie in the contest?"I received a set of the May and June books for Scholastic's new Mother Daughter Book Club for review. This is one of the May titles. You can buy a copy here.
"My mom was planning to take a shot at it," said Charlie. "But she changed her mind. Yesterday she tried to make a gooseberry pie and it came out so bad, even the dog wouldn't touch it. And he drinks out of the john!"