Little Chef, Big Curse by Tilney Cotton

cover image

Scholastic Australia, 2014. ISBN: 9781742832692.
(Age: 8-11) Highly recommended. Themes: Cooking, Magic, Fantasy. Little Chef, Big Curse is a delicious read, entertaining and engaging, a story of dreaming big and striving for your goals.
Eleven year old Matty Swink is trapped into servitude for the disgusting owner of Fenella's Food Fort. Her cooking is disastrous try Furry Floss made with her dog's fur and the kitchen is gross. Matty dreams of being a chef and late at night he slips away to his own kitchen in the diner's giant sign the size of a minivan. Here he pours through his grandma's recipes, practises his sauteing techniques and wishes he could become a master chef.
When the King of Yurp announces a great Cook-off to choose the new Royal Chef, Matty is determined to win. All the contestants plan to cook their tastiest dishes to tempt poor Princess Meg whose appetite has disappeared. Unfortunately her loss of appetite is caused by the curse of the Moon Mice. Each of the phases of the gross curse infects the townsfolk with more and more disgusting symptoms. Princess Meg and Matty are needed to save the day.
Tilney Cotton's writing style is humorous, wonderfully descriptive and his main character Matty's comic misadventures fun to read. This is an enjoyable story with a hint of Dahlesque fun, written by a South Australian author. I would highly recommend this novel for classes from Year 4-6 and for readers from 8-11.
Rhyllis Bignell