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by Lisa Schroeder

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4169-9084-0
Publisher: Aladdin

Isabel’s mother, lacking the “gumption gene” so evident in her plucky 12-year-old daughter, has lots of good ideas but gives up easily and retreats to her bedroom whenever life presents any kind of obstacle. Thus does adventurous Isabel frequently find herself tiptoeing around in the role of caregiver to her parent when she would rather be out seeing the world. When Mom conceives a plan to open a cupcake bakery in their Oregon hometown, Isabel throws herself into helping make her mother’s dreams come true, even when it imperils her own dream of winning a baking contest for kids in New York City. With the aid of a few stock characters (the loyal best friend, the wise grandmother, the kind-hearted neighbor), Isabel finds a way to remain true to herself while helping her mother overcome her own limitations. Isabel’s voice is direct and endearing; with gentle wit and clarity, she describes her own foibles as well as others’. A deft portrayal of the frustrations of a functional child tethered to a dysfunctional adult. (Fiction. 8-12)