A community bands together to revitalize a dilapidated house so old and young can gather and socialize in this Japanese import, the first in a 13-book (so far) series to be translated into English.
When Miss Flora and Mother put their heads together to come up with a way to raise money for repairs to the old beloved community cafe, their plan to hold a homemade cake contest piques the interest of twins Timothy and Sarah, who each want to enter their own creations. While the premise may initially raise excitement in young readers and listeners, the sheer length of the text and the stilted translation will likely dampen it: “That was when they realized that they were not sure how to make cake dough. So Mother taught them and helped them make the dough.” Problems are solved almost as soon as they are identified (“And in the end, the old house stood revived all new like a wonder”), and one intriguing mystery involving an elderly man, his sick wife and the cafe they used to run is never satisfactorily resolved. Indeed, readers who aren’t paying attention may miss this reference altogether. Still, the idea of a community coming together for a cause is a popular one, and the mouthwatering spreads of cake after cake, all elaborately decorated, are hard to resist. Basho’s anthropomorphized mice are sweetly old-fashioned in their dress, mannerisms and surroundings.
A community celebration for audiences that appreciate stories that are on the long side. (Picture book. 6-8)