Bound To Stay Bound

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Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2011 Cupcake has a modest but thriving bakery, a loyal customer base, a gig as drummer in a local band, and a good friend, Eggplant. This should be enough to keep him content, even happy, but dissatisfaction creeps into his life when he discovers that Eggplant has a personal connection (through an aunt in Istanbul) with world-renowned baker Turkish Delight. Suddenly Cupcake has lost enthusiasm for his favorite bakery offerings, he drops out of the band, and all he can concentrate on is accumulating enough money to accompany Eggplant on an overseas trip to meet his idol. Although Cupcake never makes it to Turkey (having used his own money to fund Eggplant’s trip instead), his friend returns with spices from Turkish Delight, and soon the buddies are whipping up innovative culinary pleasures to enter the Exotic Baked Goods Contest. Varon’s switch from a city populated by animals to one inhabited by foodstuffs (which do, however, keep pets) is largely successful, with spindly limbs and google eyes as expressive on vegetables as on cats and dogs. Her reliance on dialogue in this title, however, is a bit of a letdown following her richly imagined silent stories (Robot Dreams 11/07, Chicken and Cat, BCCB 3/06), with a more mundane tone and less sheer creative inspiration. She also misses opportunities to explore promising situations: for instance, an extended scene in a Turkish bathhouse, which should be replete with tragi-comic possibilities for its comestible patrons, results only in Cupcake’s paper wrapper coming a bit loose. While this title may end up becoming a gift book exchanged between adult baking enthusiasts, there’s enough weight to the friendship story to satisfy established Varon fans. Recipes for some of Cupcake’s featured efforts are appended. EB - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

Booklist - 09/15/2011 Cupcake’s friend Eggplant is going to Turkey to visit family, and he has invited Cupcake along to meet the famous baker Turkish Delight. Cupcake works hard to earn the money for the trip, but when a problem comes up, he has to decide if friendship is more important than meeting his hero. Varon, creator of Robot Dreams (2007), has crafted another beautiful homage to friendship. The story is simple, but Varon’s inspired setting—an alternate New York City where all the residents are food products—brings it to rich, bustling, poignant life. Readers will feel like they are walking through a cleaner, more pastel version of the city and will want to linger over the small details that highlight each panel. Recipes are included for the items Cupcake makes to earn money for his trip. As always, Varon’s work is appropriate for children but will appeal to anyone of any age who has ever loved a friend. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 11/01/2011 Gr 2–6—Cupcake, a cupcake that owns a bakery in Brooklyn, is in a band with his best friend, an eggplant. When he finds out that Eggplant is going to be seeing Cupcake's idol, the pastry chef Turkish Delight, in Istanbul, he tries a series of new projects and ways to sell baked goods in order to buy a plane ticket to join him. His efforts reinvigorate his excitement for creative baking, but they keep him from playing in the band. It's difficult to guess what readers will think of a book that both stars foodstuffs and yet is about the consumption of food. Cupcake doesn't seem at all conflicted about being friends with an anthropomorphic carrot while also chopping one up to make carrot cake, but some kids might find it confusing and distracting. The book is filled with details, labels, and readable actions, which makes it nicely interactive. The friendship between Cupcake and Eggplant is interestingly complex, with a great dream sequence spelling some of it out. Gentle, domestic, and with a plethora of particulars and seven recipes at the back that are featured in the story line, this book has a will-o'-the-wisp charm and a distinctive, quirky voice.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NHHigh School - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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