The Royal Bake Off by Clementine Beauvais

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The Royal Bake Off by Clementine Beauvais
Ill. by Becka Moor. Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408863923
(Age: 8-11) Themes: Sibling Rivalry; Competition; Baking; Comedy. A family of bizarre Royals get involved in an international Baking Competition as part of their sibling rivalry, fuelled by jealousy iced with incompetency. The 'Americanadian' and 'Britislander' teams headed by their reigning brothers plus other 'royal' teams including the team from Downunder, the Easter Island and the Emirate of Antartik, all with their cooking assistants, are forced to create unusual cooking items in a 'Cake or Death?' television extravaganza. The young children who support the Britislander royal are the ones who do all the daring acts and put themselves in danger - fighting crocodiles, rolling barrels before a giant waterfall, hanging upside down from a multi-storey building, walking on a tight-rope. Reality Television is the medium for sharing the drama and the scenarios that are created defy description. 'Unbelievable' comes to mind.
The eccentricity of the characters is paralleled by the weird twists in the plot, and the attempts at humour are what can only be described as lame. This is the third in the series involving the far-from-normal Royals, with a fourth book advertised. Obviously someone thought children might enjoy the oddity that Beauvais has half- baked! Scattered humourous cartoon-style illustrations help a young reader to see the comedic ridiculousness of the storyline. This reviewer is not wowed by this book. It certainly is not high quality literature, but there may be some children who might enjoy its quirkiness, although some of the humour is based on knowledge that they may not yet have (geo-political implications - eg Americanadia!!). It is relatively easy to read, but does leap from place to place so may confuse some less able readers.
Reserved recommendation for Readers aged 8-11.
Carolyn Hull