Review Blog

Dec 13 2015

The vanilla slice kid by Adam Wallace and Jack Wodhams

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Ill. by Tom Gittus. Ford Street Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781925272024
There is a hint of Roald Dahl in this story of an isolated and unloved child with an unusual talent subjected to a crazy bid for power. His parents are extreme versions of selfishness and greed and the General a caricature with his multiple injuries and prosthesis. However Archie maintains his innocence and belief in his friends.
Archie Cunningham was born with an amazing gift. He had the ability to produce delicious cakes which shot from the palm of his hands. Unfortunately his parents did not love him at all. Not only did they resent his existence but his mother especially only loved cakes and kept him locked away from the world and other people. As he grew older they exploited his cake making to develop a thriving and very profitable life. When the Tax Office sues them for unpaid taxes, Archie finally has his opportunity to meet other children when he attends school for the very first time, as a 12 year old.
Having no experience with other children, far from fitting in, he reveals his talents for shooting vanilla slices when he is subjected to bullying. The whole incident is uploaded to Youtube which completely enrages his mother who is happy to see him taken away to The Centre. Archie is very relieved to be away from his parents, but soon discovers all is not quite as it seems at The Centre. The General who is in charge is quite batty and aims to clone Archie and form an army to take over the world. Archie meets two other children with unusual talents and together with the help of Mr Tomkins a substitute teacher who also works for The Centre, they escape.
The adventure begins as Archie learns who he can trust, the meaning of true friends and the downside of fame when he discovers he has a cult following generated by social media who quote from The Book of Archie : Recipes and a way of Life.
Escaping the General, complete with cloned armies, rescue, betrayal, self sacrifice and huge quantities of chocolate mud cake, Pavlovas and a 12 tiered wedding cake make this a food romp of epic proportions.
Sue Keane

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