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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009
Material: hard cover
Summary: Dessert Schneider is a foodie. Her parents own a fondue restaurant and she, is, as her name suggests, fond of sweets ... especially chocolate. She is also a mostly-happy third grader in Mrs. Howdy Doody's class. Thanks to Mrs. Howdy Doody, Dessert is learning to march to be her own drummer. With a little perseverence, she even convinces mom to let everyone eat dessert before dinner. But sometimes listening to your inner-drum can be costly! Mom just made a batch of Double-Decker Chocolate Bars and added a big note that says "DO NOT TOUCH. THAT MEANS YOU." Before she even realized it, Dessert ate the whole box. NOW what would she do? How would she get out of this? What would Mrs. Howdy Doody say? This is a transitional reader told by Dessert herself.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 12
Interest Level: 8 to 10
Reading Level: 4.3
Age of Child: Read with and by a 7-year-old girl. Also reviewed by a student at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, MN, as part of the Use Your ABCs program.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter loved the names in the story: Mrs Howdy Doody, Dessert, Mushy, and Wolfie. She was intrigued by the storyline and in several spots offered an "oh, no" to tell us she thought she knew what would happen next. Once the Doody Drive got underway, though, she lost interest in the story. Student review: The book was okay. It was a little confusing in the beginning, but it was okay. It made you want to go eat a ton of food. I picked the book because it looked like there would be a lot of food in it, and I like food! I thought the book was bad after the first chapter, but got a little better with every page.
Adult Reader Reaction: We enjoyed this story. Mrs. Howdy Doody is the teacher we wish we all had. Lots of us can relate to the "calling" from a best-loved dessert that is off limits. Dessert is a character who kids will relate to. They'll understand her predicaments, laugh with her, and cheer her own when she has to fix the problems she created. I love the author's creativity in using different size fonts to help convey Dessert's thoughts and dialogue.
Pros: Kids and their parents will enjoy this humorous tale about the "sweet"life of third-grader Dessert Schneider. Student reviewer: If you like dessert and food, you would like this book.
Cons: My daughter asked us several times for the Double-Decker chocolate bar recipe. That would make a fun activity for bringing the book to life. Student reviewer: this book was a little confusing at times, and it didn't go into much detail.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a humorous book fun for reading aloud. Student reviewer: Skip. The book was good because it had a good story, but it wasn't great because it was confusing a lot in the story. I wouldn't recommend this book.
Educational Themes: On the lighter side, there are themes about family life, honesty and lying, choices and consequences, and growing up. For those who like digging, you might look at eating disorders.
Notes: The Reading Tub read an advance reviewer edition of this book. The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.
Literary Categories: Fiction - advemture, family, growing up
Date(s) Reviewed: June 2009, November 2009
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com; and feedback at amazon.com.