Review Blog

Apr 30 2013

Jake's cooking craze by Ken Spillman

cover image

Ill. by Chris Nixon. Fremantle Press, 2013. ISBN 978 192208910 6.
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Junior novel. Cooking. Spurred on by the cooking television series for younger chefs, Junior Cooks, Jake is amused when his friends and those about him fall into the trap of talking about nothing else. He studiously ignores the conversations about the program, but when his teacher brings it up in class as a topic of discussion, he knows he cannot hold out. He watches the show and is soon asking his Gran for help with recipes, while finding new things to cook for tea.
This all comes to a head when his teacher announces a cooking competition to be held between the local schools. Jake is so wound up in the whole idea that he volunteers and then tries to find a different recipe that he could use which would be a prize winner. In the garden, he spies some snails, and so hits upon the idea of cooking snails as his dish. The hilarious illustrations follow Jake's path to what he thinks is a winning idea, and the same illustrations show quite clearly what the judges all think about his smart recipe.
A funny read of about 40 pages, with easy to follow print, short easily digested chapters, a flowing plot line all broken up with wonderfully evocative illustrations, this is one of a series about Jake and his exploits. This one taps into the hysteria caused by the overabundance of cooking shows currently presented on television, and students will giggle with recognition.
Fran Knight

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