Review Blog

Apr 02 2020

The crumbling castle by Brenda Gurr

cover image

The fabulous cakes of Zinnia Jakes series. New Frontier Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781925594973. 88pp.
(Age: 7-10) Zoe Jones (alias Zinnia Jakes) is a nine year old girl who lives with her Aunt Jam. Her mother, who was a famous pastry chef, has died, and her father, a renowned restaurant critic, is always travelling the world. Since a young age Zoe has had a flair for cake baking and runs a very successful secret cake making business under the eye of her Aunt. Zoe's best friend Addie is in on the secret. Addie is a great gymnast and very good at STEM activities. Zoe is emailed a special order to make a medieval cake for a woman at a medieval fair. The cake will be raffled and the money will go to a worthy cause. Her aunt and her aunt's boyfriend are also learning medieval instruments, to play at the fair. Zoe's cat Coco has special ways of communicating with her, such as paw tapping and tail flicking, and lets Zoe know that her original idea of building a castle from chocolate cake isn't authentic. Zoe does some research and finds a very interesting original recipe. Addie, being a STEM whiz, helps with the design of the castle. However, in order to deliver the cake to her client and remain a mystery, Zoe has to engage in some subterfuge. It isn't all plain sailing for Zoe with an unpleasant teacher and boy bully but in the main it is an upbeat though somewhat contrived story.
The author has included the medieval recipe Zoe uses which is quite a good ploy. This novel has short sentences and is aimed at young independent girl readers. Given the interest we have in celebrity cooking it will certainly have an audience. The main characters are all smart and resourceful, so are good role models for girls. The sparkly colourful cover is attractive. Another book is coming in the Zinnia Jakes series.
Jo Marshall

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