Can 10-year-old Poppy convince her parents she wants to be a baker and not a witch in yet another fantasy that blends magic and baking?
Poppy Pendle has inherited her magic from her Great-Granny Mabel, but her passion is baking. Her Dursley-like parents send her to the Ruthersfield Academy for young ladies with magic. She excels there, but she hates flying on her broomstick, using her wand and the teasing of the other girls. She runs away to the only place where she is happy, Patisserie Marie Claire, where she can create her own cookies and cakes. When this solution does not pan out, Poppy turns to the dark side of being a witch, hiding in a forsaken cottage and turning animals, her parents, police, birds and squirrels to stone. Her friend Charlie (a girl) and Marie Claire try various “sweet-tempting” plans to bring her back and finally succeed. Poppy and Marie Claire rehab the cottage and open a bakery. Numerous unexplained gaps in the fantasy logic crinkle the storyline, beginning with the “magic” of Poppy’s being born in the Patisserie (thus her passion) and ending with her turned-to-stone parents taking two years to thaw.
The belabored parental conflict, sugarcoated emotions and convenient plot details are cloying. The 12 recipes at the end are the best part; the rest is just half-baked. (Fantasy. 8-11)